National Clips

PITTSBURGH: 124th city on the peace list

Steelworkers, union leaders, “Raging Grannies,” veterans, professionals, artists, students and folks from across the city filled City Council Chambers at 9:30 am, lined up (for the third time) behind a microphone and testified for peace with Iraq. The council, in a 7-0 vote, finally agreed.

Pittsburgh is the fourth community in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphia, York, Haines Township and Wilkinsburg, to pass a peace resolution.

“I am president of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees Chapter 20-15, Pittsburgh,” George Edwards told the pre-meeting rally. “Our chapter has a lot of veterans, including me.” Edwards read from the AFL-CIO resolution adopted at their Feb. 27 meeting to cheers, echoing applause and honking car solidarity horns.





BALTIMORE: Peace ‘illegal’ in suburban mall

When 20 activists from the Iraq Pledge of Resistance showed up inside the Towsontown Mall, March 1, wearing pictures of Iraqi children and distributing anti-war flyers. Mall owners called the police. Shopping malls are considered private property, but activists argue that it is a “town square with a roof over it.”

Baltimore County police arrested eight Pledge members. Their crime was handing out 500 flyers in an hour.

The peace activists were jailed for 14 hours in leg shackles. While on their way to arraignment, cops heckled the activists over their patrol car loud speakers chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” followed by whistles to simulate bombs dropping. Their trial is scheduled for June.





SAN FRANCISCO: Stock exchange pres. against war

The former president of the West Coast stock exchange, Pacific Exchange, announced that he would participate in non-violent demonstrations to shut down the financial district, if the U.S. attacks Iraq. Protests will target Pacific Exchange, Transamerica Pyramid and “other war making corporate and federal headquarters.”

Warren Langley, 60, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, served as stock exchange president from 1996 – 1999. He supported the Vietnam War. But on Jan. 18, he marched in his first peace protest. After the Feb. 16 demonstration, Langley decided to do more and contacted Direct Action to Stop the War. “I do believe this war is wrong,” he said.





DETROIT: Marchers to High Court: ‘Save affirmative action’

About 1,000 Detroit-area residents marched on March 1 to demand that the Supreme Court “Save Affirmative Action.”

At a rally near the old Tiger Stadium, the crowd cheered on a number of speakers and prominent attendees, including Lt. Governor John Cherry, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), Wendell Anthony of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, both U.S. Senators from Michigan, Carl Levin (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D). After the rally, the crowd marched peacefully to the federal courthouse.

The march was sponsored by the Coalition to Defend Equal Opportunity, composed of numerous civil rights and labor organizations.

Michigan’s Lt. Governor said that the university’s mission was to provide a diverse quality education for all, not just the few. Rep. Cheeks Kilpatrick urged the crowd to attend the April 1 rally in Washington D.C. She called for using people’s power to change the minds of our leaders. “Change comes from the bottom, from the people to the leaders,” she stated. “You have to force leaders to act.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear cases on April 1 that say affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan discriminate against white students.





DALLAS: Driving while Black or Brown: Hazardous to your health

For African-American and Mexican-American motorists in north Texas a simple traffic stop can turn into a humiliating search or even arrest instead of a warning or ticket. A state mandated 2002 study found that in Dallas one in every nine Hispanics and one in every 15 African Americans stopped for a traffic violation resulted in a full search of their vehicles. That compares to one in every 28 whites. The trend changed in Arlington and Denton where African-Americans were more likely than Hispanics and whites to be searched.

“Based on the data that we have,” said Dallas Police Chief Terrell Bottom, “I think it is time to take a step back and make sure we treat everybody fairly.”





NEW YORK: Hikers start ‘No Tuition Hike’

Students and young people on opposite sides of the state held kickoff rallies for the “No Tuition Hike,” in which young people will walk from Buffalo and Long Island to Albany to protest the increase in tuition and fees at the City and State Universities of New York.

The rallies, which have been organized by the Hike’s sponsoring group, the New York Public Interest Research Group and the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, drew hundreds of people in Buffalo and thousands in New York City. A closing rally is planned on March 11 in Albany, and is expected to draw many thousands of people.

National clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards who can be reached at dwinebr696@aol.com. Dan Margolis and Joel Wendland contributed to this week’s clips.