Yes, We Still Can!

Volume CX, No. 11November, 2010

Claudia Copeland

A Local 802 rep attends the Oct. 2 rally
in D.C. and finds hope for change

Yes, we still can! That was the message of the One Nation rally that took place on Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C. It was only two years ago that this country elected President Barack Obama and was invigorated by his rhetoric of hope and change. However, we have recently seen the rise of the extreme right. The One Nation march addressed issues of jobs, education and equality for all people.

The march was attended by over 100,000 people from unions and other progressive organizations.

Speakers called for people to not only look for change, but to demand it.

  • Demand jobs that pay decent wages.
  • Demand the highest quality education for all students, regardless of their ethnicity or neighborhood.
  • Demand equality for all people, regardless of their sex, color, sexual orientation and religion.

The speakers were trade unionist, poets, actors, heads of civil rights organizations and activists. Although there was a great range of speakers, the message was clear: we need to get America back on track.

How? Through hard work and by electing leaders who truly represent our interests. And also by never thinking that getting your politician elected is the end of the struggle. It’s just the beginning. In the end, it’s people working together who change the world, not just politicians working alone.

That said, there was a persistent reminder to get involved and vote in the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

While walking through the Mall you could hear people discussing strategies of how to get this country back on track. You could feel the excitement. There were signs reminding us to “Move forward together,” “Now this is Dr. King’s spirit,” “Good jobs now,” and a slew of signs calling for action.

Many called this the first civil rights march of the 21st century and it isn’t surprising that it is happening now. In the midst of having the most jobless Americans this country has ever seen since the Great Depression, a call to action was in desperate need.

We told each other that this movement – not the Tea Party – represents a majority of Americans.

The rally made me understand that we are all in this boat together and in order to make it all work again, our oars must be going in the same direction.

Ben Jealous, the head of the NAACP, reminded people that this country must move “ever forward and never backward.”