Rakhee Devasthali from Feminist Students United at UNC-CH and Raleigh-Durham FIST speaks at rally at Freedom Corner in the Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh
G20 Third Day of Protests
Sunday: March for Jobs
Monday: “Organizing the global struggle for jobs & workers rights”
workshop at the Tent City
Occupants of the Bail Out the People Movement Tent City will be marching from Freedom Corner (the intersection of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street) to the Mellon Corporation Headquarters (500 Grant Street) at 4:30 to demand a national moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Participants in the march will include homeless and unemployed people from across the U.S., trade union activists, community organizers and local residents.
The Tent City kicked off Sunday with a spirited March for Jobs, with more than 1,000 protesters marching through the streets of Pittsburgh in the first G-20-related demonstration. Carrying hundreds of placards bearing the image of Dr. Martin Luther King, and slogans such as “Fight for the right to a job,” the long march was enthusiastically greeted on the streets of Pittsburgh by Sunday worshipers getting out of church, many of whom joined the march.
Rev. Thomas E. Smith, pastor of Monumental Baptist Church and one of the organizers of the march, told the rally, “We must tell the G-20 leaders that we reject the notion of a jobless recovery. An economic recovery that leaves unemployment in the double digits adds insult to injury to all who have lost their jobs and their homes during this terrible economic crisis, both in this country and around the world.”
Buses of protesters came from New York, Rhode Island, Detroit, Cleveland, and other places. Vans and cars and caravans came from literally every part of the country, as far away as Boston, Florida and Los Angeles. Joining the many who came from out of town were a large turnout of Pittsburgh residents, especially those who live in the historic African-American section of Pittsburgh called the Hill district, where the march was mounted from.
The end of the march was Freedom Corner, near downtown Pittsburgh, where there is a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders and activists. Amongst the many speakers at Sunday’s rally were: Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council; Rakhee Devastali, Feminist Students United, UNC-Chapel Hill; Oscar Hernandez, participant in the 11-month Stella D’Oro bakery strike in New York City;Sandra Hines, Mich. Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions; Larry Holmes, Bail Out the People Movement; John Parker, Bail Out the People Movement activist, who brought a van of people from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh; Fred Redmond, vice-president, United Steelworkers; Lynne Stewart, civil rights attorney, target of government repression; Brenda Stokely and Jennifer Jones, NYC Coalition in Solidarity with Katrina/Rita Survivors; Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10, San Francisco and Million Worker March Movement; Victor Toro, an immigrant facing deportation with the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant and Workers Rights; Rosemary Williams, homeowner fighting foreclosure in Minnesota; and Rev. Bruce Wright, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign.
After the march and rally, hundreds of protesters returned to the rally’s beginning point, Monumental Baptist Church in the Hill district, and began to prepare their tents to prepare to live in a tent city dedicated to the unemployed of the world that will stand next to the church for the entire week of the G-20 summit.
The tent city is full of tents and hundreds of residents. Organizers expect the population of the tent city to grow as the opening of the G-20summit grows closer. Throughout all three days of the Tent City, local Pittsburgh residents have been coming by to donate food and water and to express their support for the demand for a real jobs program.
A full schedule of the various forums and teach-ins that will take place at the tent city each day is available online at bailoutpeople.org.