CHICAGO – Rev. Jesse Jackson called March 8 “Peace Day” at his weekly rally and television broadcast at the Rainbow Coalition/Operation PUSH national headquarters. The event marked a new coalition between peace, religious, labor, youth and community groups to fight for social justice. Activists were invited to announce their plans to protest an Iraqi war.

Rev. Jackson said to the Bush administration, “There is no shame in saying, ‘Why don’t we just leave the country [Iraq] alone.’” Jackson related concerns that the administration may have conflicts of interest because “Texan Oil Barons” and defense contractors were large financiers of the Bush campagin.

Jackson also focused on the administration’s attack on Title IX and affirmative action, saying that minorities would be “on the frontlines to die, but last in line to live.”

At the press conference following the event, peace and labor activist Carolyn Black announced an upcoming mass peace demonstration March 16, which will represent the combined efforts of peace, labor, religious, and youth groups.

Black told the World later that PUSH’s involvement in the peace movement will be key in mobilizing the Black community at a grassroots level. She called PUSH a “clearing house for the Southside peace movement.” Black said that PUSH will be organizing a Peace Task Force to galvanize the Black community. Working with PUSH she hopes to organize a mass demonstration in the Black community, “grounded solidly in Dr. King’s call for peace.” Black herself envisions a large march up Dr. King Blvd. against the war on the date of Dr. King’s assassination, April 4.

As a member of the community she believes that “there is a strong sentiment against war [here], it just needs to organize itself.”

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