Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One Nation Rally in Washington, a personal account...

Denise Oliver-Velez writes for Daily Kos:

Continuing the struggle

As I clear my head and think back over my impressions of the rally in Washington, I will take away with me images of the many young faces I saw there; on the buses, in the DC Metro, in the crowd, and as speakers on the program.

Not that there weren't plenty of middles and silver-hairs in the crowd.
But what gives me hope for the future was the engagement of youth. For they will continue a struggle begun before we were born and they will continue that struggle long after many of us who are reading here have passed on.

Black Kos's diary :: ::
I am not much of a photographer. Most of the time I forgot I had a camera with me, so I'm grateful that our Sister Blue Jersey Mom sent some of the pictures she took there too. Thank you BJM.

Hope some of you will share your pics too!

I started my journey to DC at 4AM on Saturday in Ulster county NY. I drove to the home of two of my favorite union organizers. One a former Black Panther Party Member, and one a former member of the Young Lords. They are married, to each other, and to the fight for change. Both now organize full time in SEIU-1199 because health care workers have been a core base of progressive fighters for many long years.

We drove through the dark to St. Lukes Hospital in the city of Newburgh in Orange County. A hospital that services a very poor, mostly minority but also white poor population; one of the most depressed areas in the Catskill region.

There was a convoy of buses waiting, filled with nurses, lab techs, dietitians, and maintenance workers. Many brought their children with them. It was not yet daylight when we pulled out, headed for DC to the sound of cheers in Spanish and English.

Our bus driver was young Dominican. My guess is he was in his mid-twenties. I got to sit right behind him for the next 6 hours, and we had an interesting conversation as we headed towards the turnpike. He is voting for Democrats, but was a bit disgusted with the inability of the Democratic Party to take a hard line progressive stance, pointing to the obdurate solidarity that Republican teabaggers espouse. He wished that we exhibited more of that unanimity - but towards moving forward.

But he told me he will vote. In spite of his criticisms. He said "any Latino who votes for the "Party of Racismo" is "loco".

The union bus captains took a roll call, and handed out sign-up sheets for folks traveling on the bus to sign up for the get out the vote efforts for the upcoming election. The travel time between NY and DC was not wasted in simply sight-seeing.

Our trip into DC seemed to take forever. We got stuck in a traffic jam caused by construction, near the beltway so by the time we rolled into the RFK stadium parking lot it was already after 12 noon.

There were lines and lines of buses as far as I could see, and as we streamed off the buses we were given detailed maps, a roundtrip metro pass from Stadium to Farragut West and had been given wristbands with the cell phone number of the Bus Captain and the bus number - in case we got separated.

In the stadium lot there were several huge tents and what looked like thousands of cases of bottled water, along with huge stacks of signs which we could pick up to take to the rally. Union members serving as Marshals directed us towards the walk in the hot sun to the Metro station.

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