Support grows for April 20 demo

Jody Dodd, a staff member of the U. S. Section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), said the April 20 Mobilization to Stop The War at Home and Abroad is an opportunity for peace and justice advocates to express their opposition to the policies of the Bush administration that threaten a wider war abroad and a war at home with its continued attacks on the rights and democratic liberties of the American people.

“We know there have been weekly vigils all across the country calling for a just solution to the problems that gave rise to the attacks of Sept. 11. We also know that the mainstream media has tried to cultivate the illusion that there is no opposition to the present situation. The April 20 march and demonstration will prove otherwise – it will give people a chance to say ‘no’ – no to endless war, no to corporate globalization, no to attacks on immigrant workers,” Dodd told the World.

The Mobilization, initiated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, has been endorsed by more than 200 national and local peace and justice organizations, including New York City Labor Against the War, the National Coalition for Peace and Justice and the 9-11 Emergency National Network . These coalitions include long-time peace organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, Veterans for Peace and War Resisters League, along with community groups organized around economic and social justice issues.

In their call for participation in the April 20 Mobilization, organizers said, “unless we, the people of this country, rise up and come together now, the future for us and for people around the world is very bleak. But united, as we have done in the past, we can make a change! There is an alternative!”

Mobilization organizers have endorsed other actions and events that will occur throughout the weekend, including those organized by the Mobilization for Global Justice and the National Mobilization on Colombia. “We encourage people coming for the April 20 March to support these efforts as well,” they said

Erica Smiley, a leader of the Black Radical Congress Youth Caucus, spoke for many of those interviewed for this article when she said “just about everything is wrong” with President Bush’s response to the events of Sept. 11. “The ‘war on terrorism’ breeds more terror,” she added.

Jessica Angus, organizing director for the United States Students Association, said the events of April 19-20 will give members of Congress and the media “an opportunity to see the strength of our numbers,” while Ted Glick, coordinator of the 9-11 Emergency National Network calls the weekend’s activities a “significant coming together” of many different organizations. “There may be differences in emphasis, in focus or on strategy,” he said. “But we are working together to build the April 20 Mobilization.”

On Saturday, demonstrators will gather at the Sylvan Theatre, located on the southwest side of the Washington Monument, for a Stop the War Rally set to begin at 11 a.m. The march to the Capitol is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a 3 p.m. rally at the Capitol Mall.

The Saturday march will be preceded by a lobby day on Friday, that will include workshops for participants who will later meet with members of Congress. Friday’s activities will conclude with a Solidarity Concert that evening.

Amy Goodman, host of the Radio Pacifica Network’s “Democracy Now,” will be mistress of ceremonies. Confirmed speakers include Phil Berrigan; Amber Amundsson, whose husband perished when a terrorist airplane smashed into the Pentagon; and Cathy Kelly, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for her work to end sanctions against Iraq.

Although their appearance had not been confirmed at press time, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to vote against giving Bush unlimited powers to conduct a war on terrorism, has been invited to participate, as have Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and the Rev. Martin Luther King, III.

Other details on the march and rally including – the line of march and bus drop-off points, non-violence guidlines, housing and downloadable flyers – will be posted at www.unitedwemarch.org .