South Carolina labor leader to speak at Chicago PWW banquet

CHICAGO - Donna Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, will be the guest speaker at the Chicago People's Weekly World awards banquet Sunday, Nov. 18.

'Donna Dewitt will join us in presenting the Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Award to three of the city's outstanding fighters for peace, jobs and social justice,' John Bachtell, banquet chairman, told the World.

Dewitt, now in her third term, is one of only three women to head a state AFL-CIO labor body. The 30-year veteran of the Communication Workers union is a leader in the campaign to free the 'Charleston Five,' members of the International Longshoremen's Association, who face long prison terms if convicted on trumped up charges of inciting a riot during a police attack on their picket line in January 2000.

'The banquet takes on a new significance as the White House and right-wing elements in Congress attempt to use a 'national emergency' to conceal their attack on the living standards and democratic liberties of the American people,' said Bachtell.

Bachtell said the banquet would offer an opportunity for peace activists to share views on developing an international response to terrorism based on 'peaceful alternatives to the use of military force.'

Award recipients are long-time activist Bernice Bild, who presently heads the Coalition for New Priorities; the Rev. Marshall Hatch, pastor of Chicago's New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and coordinator of Ministers for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; and City Councilmember Ricardo Munoz.

The banquet will take place at the House of Fortune Restaurant, 2407 Wentworth Avenue in Chicago. Food will be served at 2 p.m., and the program will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for children under 12.