Detroiters, New Yorkers march for jobs, justice peace; build toward national march on Washington Oct. 2

Detroit march steps off Aug. 28 Photo from UAW website

 By Diane Bukowski

 DETROIT – The Aug. 28 “Jobs, Justice and Peace” march in Detroit was thousands strong, led by the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and other unions, RainbowPUSH, the Moratorium NOW! coalition and numerous other community groups, the Martin Luther King High School marching band alongwith other young people, and progressive ministers.  

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-LA) speaks, with Rev. Jesse Jackson and UAW Pres. Bob King behind her

“We are about to spark a movement across America!” U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) told the crowd. “Detroit is the epicenter of what’s wrong with corporate greed. Wall Street has disinvested in our cities instead of putting people to work in public service jobs. They have stolen our pensions, torn down public housing, and taken the homes of working people who have been paying mortgages for 15, 20 and 30 years. They are destroying public education. Our children are not failing, THEY have failed our children. But we are not intimidated, we are going to take back Detroit, take back our cities, and take back America!”  

The march was a forceful display of solidarity against the banks
BAMN youth call for justice for Mumia, Aiyana Stanley-Jones

and corporations which have ruined the lives of millions across the world, and against the U.S. war machine, initiated finally by organizations with resources to build a movement. Speakers at the rally announced it is only the beginning. They said they are mobilizing for a massive march on Washington Oct. 2 sponsored by One Nation Working Together.  

UAW President Bob King laid out a new agenda for his union. 

 “We care about the unemployed, the senior citizens, the retirees, the children,” King said. “Our people are jobless because Wall Street has led the country into an economic crisis, and many of our leaders are morally bankrupt. They created the horrendous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Everybody here worked to elect President Barack Obama. But we made one mistake—we did not keep on marching. If you don’t keep marching you start losing. We must march until we die, we will march until we win!”   


Jackson called for the rebuilding of Detroit and cities across the country, and for a national moratorium on home foreclosures.  

“There are thousands of vacant lots here in Detroit,” he said. “We need to train our youth to rebuild and rehab homes instead of tearing them down. Detroit is a food desert—not one major supermarket chain is in the city. They have cut public transportation. People on welfare can’t afford to own cars legally; the city has the highest insurance rates in the country. Detroit, do not give up your spirit, do not live below your privilege! There are no George Wallaces, no Bull Connors, no water cannons and no dogs to stop us!”   

FLOC Pres. Baldemar Velasquez calls for boycott of Chase Bank

Baldemar Valesquez, president of FLOC, said their union will lead a national divestment campaign of Chase Bank beginning Sept. 7, asking consumers to close their Chase accounts and cancel Chase credit cards. 

FLOC’s website says, “JP Morgan Chase is one of the lead banks in a consortium of lenders that provides $498 million dollars in credit to Reynolds American, one of the largest tobacco companies in the US. While Reynolds American and JP Morgan Chase make billions, tobacco farmworkers continue to suffer serious human rights abuses in the fields. Although Reynolds does not directly employ these farmworkers, they determine the terms for contract growers which directly affects the living and working conditions of farmworkers.”   

SEIU delegation; marcher calls for national public works program

Velasquez said, “Our workers have the right not to die in the tobacco fields, like dogs under the trees.” He also called on U.S. companies to “stop exporting jobs, and exploiting imported workers.”  

Al Garrett, President of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said his union will commit all its resources and people to the Oct. 2 mobilization.  

“We’re ready to march on the Coleman Young Center, the Guardian Building, the state capitol, and Washington, D.C!” he cried out. “We are 1.4 million strong across the country and we will be there!” 

Atty. Vanessa Fluker demands end to foreclosures

Attorney Vanessa Fluker called for those present to join a march against the Bank of America in downtown Detroit Sept. 1, to save the home of Michelle Hart and her disabled mother. She noted that mortgage companies, which are insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, make more money by evicting people than they do by keeping them in their homes.  

“Bail out the banks, not the people!” she demanded.  

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and his running mate, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, also excited the crowd with their appearance. The two are running on a progressive “Main Street, not Wall Street” platform targeting Republican candidate Rick Snyder, who is a millionaire businessman financing his own campaign.  

Award-winning Martin Luther King, Jr. band

The Democratic state convention was happening at Cobo Hall the same weekend. Among its controversial aspects was the refusal of Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer to allow a resolution sponsored by the 14th District to hit the floor. It called for the removal of Detroit Public Schools czar Robert Bobb because of the massive school closings, lay-offs, and huge debt that he has sponsored during the current state take-over of the district. 

Many delegates also decried the party’s selection of candidate for

Marchers call for single-payer health care

the State Supreme Court. A contingent at the rally carried “Judge Thomas” signs, marking the second time that Wayne County District Court Judge Deborah Thomas has tried unsuccessfully to get the nomination. Thomas led a long campaign against the county’s racially unbalanced jury system, which results in juries that are mainly composed of suburbanites judging defendants who are primarily Detroiters. 




Protesters demand BOA halt eviction of Michelle Hart and her disabled mother

By Diane Bukowski 

DETROIT — Dozens of demonstrators, many called out by Attorney Vanessa Fluker’s  announcement at the Aug. 28 Jobs, Peace and Justice march, hit the Bank of America’s downtown Detroit headquarters Aug 31 . They demanded a stop to the pending eviction of Michelle Hart and her mother, and that BOA and other lenders sign on to Michigan’s $228 million Hardest Hit Homeowners’ Program, meant to  help unemployed workers. 

“Michelle Hart and her elderly mother face imminent foreclosure and eviction from their home in Southfield, Mich., by Countrywide and Bank of America,” Fluker said. “The bank refuses to modify Ms. Hart’s usurious, adjustable-rate mortgage, even though it signed a binding Consent Agreement with the Attorney General’s office on Oct. 6, 2008, to modify loans.  Ms. Hart has fought in court for a year and a half now to get BOA and Countrywide to abide by the Consent Agreement and modify her loan.  But the bank refuses and is forging full steam ahead to evict her and her mother, who suffers from pancreatic cancer.  BOA would rather toss them out on the street than negotiate a loan modification because of  Ms. Hart’s job loss and lower wages.”  

Attorney Jerome Goldberg added that  the “Help for Hardest Hit Homeowners” program that provides over $282 million in federal monies to Michigan to keep unemployed workers in their homes is failing because neither Bank of America, Countrywide or any other major lender has signed on to participate in the program.        

The march was temporarily disrupted by a lone cop who took it upon himself to snatch away a bullhorn from one of the protesters. City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson joined the march at that point and retrieved the bullhorn from the officer. The march then resumed, with more  protesters joining in. 

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition, along with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, holds weekly organizing meetings every Monday at 7:00 p.m. at 5920 Second Avenue in Detroit.  All are welcome.                                                                                                    

 Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs  Phone: (313) 887-4344;


U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel speaks at NYC rally for unemployed Sept. 1

 From One Nation Working Together  

September 1, 2010 – New York. – Heeding a call to put New Yorkers back to work, hundreds of unemployed people and their supporters rallied at the Federal Hall Building across from the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan at 11:00 a.m. this morning to demand that city, state and federal government representatives make getting people back to work their number one priority. 

The rally was sponsored by New Yorkers who have joined the One Nation Working Together movement, a coalition of more than 170 human and civil rights organizations, environmental, ethnic, labor, peace, youth, student and faith-based organizations that are bringing hundreds of thousands to Washington, D.C. on October 2 to demand the same. 

“New York City’s official unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, but we know that it’s higher than that,” said Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference. “We need to go to Washington on 10.2.10 and demand as One Nation Working Together that our officials help put everyone back to work NOW.” 

A mother of four, unemployed 45-year-old Sabrina Greenwood shared her story with the crowd. She said that she was laid off as a NYTA transit station agent right before she was to be vested. “For five years and sometimes five – six days a week, I gave up my weekends and holidays with my children. I worked all hours of the day and night, summer, winter, spring and fall. While the city slept, I worked. While the city went to sleep, I still worked. And what did I get for my dedication? No service package, no gold watch, not even a good bye, just a pink slip.” When she finished sharing her story, with her daughter by her side, the crowd chanted: Jobs, jobs, jobs. 10.2.10 10.2.10. 

Rev. Terry Melvin – Secretary -Treasurer New York State AFL-CIO presided over the rally while Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers; Leslie Cagan, co-chair of United for Peace & Justice; Reverend Bruce Southworth of the Community Church of New York, Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party and others shared thoughts on education reform, immigration reform and full civil rights. All speakers called for participation in the Oct. 2 rally in Washington, D.C. 

“Washington has to make putting Americans back to work the first priority,” said Rep. Charles Rangel, the dean of New York’s Congressional delegation. “We need jobs. And we need them now.” 

One Nation Working Together invited all New Yorkers to text “MARCH” to 30644 and join the 10.2.10 rally in Washington, D.C.. and demand jobs, justice and education reform. 

For additional information about One Nation Working Together, contact: 

National Offices

DC Office
1825 K St. NW
Washington DC 20001
Suite 210
Phone: 202.263.4568             
Fax: 202.263.4530
New York Office
New York Hope Room
310 W. 43rd Street
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New York, NY 10036
Tel: 212-603-0080  Fax: 212-603-0006

National Field Director
Reverend Charles L. White, Jr.
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4556 

Deputy Director
Carmen Berkley
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4549  

Senior Advisor
Heather Booth
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4534  

Kendall Givens
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4556  

Senior Field Manager
Demetrius G. Fisher
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4556  

Regional Directors 

Mid-Atlantic Region Director (VA, PA, NJ, MD, DE, WV)
Yvonne A. Miller
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4545  

South Region Directors (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN)
Jennifer Littlejohn
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4574  

Alethea R. Bonello

 Southwest Region Director (LA, AR, TX, NM, OK)
Carmen Watkins

DMV Region Director
Jocelyn A. Woodards
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4545  

Midwest Director (OH, KY, IN, MI, WI, MO, IL)
Cynthia M. Lucas
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4578  

At-Large Region Director (Major Cities outside of 12 hr. radius)
Dr. Jerome Reide

New York Region Director (New York City, New York State)
Marvin Bing, Jr.
Office Telephone: (212) 603-0082  

Greg Akili

Constituency Directors 

National Youth Director
Jessica Pierce

National Faith Director
Dr. Aurelio D. Givens
Office Telephone: (202) 263-4568

National Women’s Director
Monifa Bandele
Office Telephone: (917) 407-3018

Nat. Environmental/Green Jobs Dir
Shasa Theresa Curl

Labor Directors
Scott Reynolds
Office Telephone: (202) 637-5226  

Marcos Vilar
Office Telephone: (202) 730-7756  

LGBTQ Directors

Peggy Shorey
Office Telephone: (202) 637-5014  

Michael Mitchell
Office Telephone: (202) 625-1382  

Stacey Long
Office Telephone: (202) 393-5177  

Jasper Hendricks, III
Office Telephone: (202) 319-1552  

Peace Director
Michael McPherson

Asian Pacific American Director
Brian Wang

Immigration Directors/Coordinators 

Ana Avendan
Office Telephone: (202) 637-3949  

Marcos Vilar
Office Telephone: (202) 730-7756  

Jamie Contreras

Nati Fani

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One Response to Detroiters, New Yorkers march for jobs, justice peace; build toward national march on Washington Oct. 2

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