The One Nation Working Together Coalition, a collection of over 350 groups across the nation, is mobilizing a massive march on Washington on Oct. 2 to fight for civil rights and end joblessness in America.
The rally will unite an amalgam of human rights, civic and religious organizations – including the NAACP, National Newspapers Association (NNPA) and The Leadership Conference – in efforts to draw attention to a breadth of social issues, namely Americans’ access to quality public education, equality in all facets of life and putting Americans back to work. The organization’s rally will also call for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During a conference call with the media, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous touted the gathering which will include hours of speeches, poetry readings and musical entertainment as a grassroots campaign inclusive of all Americans, not just powerful policymakers.
“We’re all working together on this common goal and this truly will be the diverse march on Washington this country has seen,” Jealous said. The civil rights organization leader also said the movement will be “everyday people’s” rally call for the nation’s leaders, as they make “a direct demand to reclaim our fundamental right to the American Dream. We are holding our representatives in Washington accountable for re-focusing national priorities on what is important – the people.”
Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins echoed Jealous’ sentiments, calling the march a critical moment in American history.
“Now is the time that the progressive power in this country prove that we are the movement of faith. We are the movement fighting to protect the most vulnerable Americans from those who want to exploit us and lock us out of the American dream,” Ellis-Lamkins told the media.
Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September show the rally’s primary focuses, employment and ending poverty, are salient concerns among Americans.
The Bureau’s report indicated that one in seven Americans – or 45.6 million people – are living in poverty and that number has increased for the third consecutive year. African Americans are leading the disturbing trend, with the number of Black families living in poverty growing at a rate that surpasses other racial groups’.
According to Jealous, the rally will also serve as a tool to reinvigorate Americans’ interest in the election process and support leaders who “put people first.” The organization has even released a “new economy” agenda in hopes of guiding lawmakers into a more inclusive and progressive direction. Hallmarks of the plan include:
Creating 1 million jobs immediately; “jobs where each voice and lifestyle are respected; every working American is able to share fairly in the wealth he or she helps create and is able to live in a safe community and to care for her or his family.
An opportunity for everyone to live the American Dream and “live in dignity.”
Excellent quality education from pre-kindergarten through college that is accessible and affordable to most families.
Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said the coalition’s agenda encompasses the basic tenets America was founded upon.
“The ideal that everyone should have equal opportunity to live a rich and prosperous life is an essential element of our national identity, an ideal that has served our country well for generations,” said Henderson in a statement. “However, today we face serious challenges that can only be addressed with decisive leadership and a redoubled commitment on the part of all of us to act in the public interest for the good of all.”
The One Nation Working Together March on Washington for jobs, justice and education will take place on Oct. 2 from 12-4 p.m. For more information, visit: www.onenationforpeace.org.