Remarks of Greg Coleridge provided to open April 12 rally at Market Square Park, Cleveland, OH
Friends / brothers and sisters.
Welcome to our March for Justice!
This event is sponsored by the No Cuts Coalition – a labor-community group, many of whom have been working against cuts to federal programs for many years – having in the past focused on preventing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
At the moment, our major attention is on 3 issues: unemployment benefits, minimum wage and food stamps.
We are here to oppose austerity measures in all these forms
We are here specifically today to demand:
-Extend unemployment insurance
-Raise the minimum wage
-Restore food stamp cuts in Ohio and nationally
We are here because our elected officials have failed us – more responsive to their contributors/investors—corporate and super duper wealthy than to us – the 99%
We are here because the working class is under assault due to rising taxes, increased cuts, stagnant wages, and disappearing jobs.
We are here because it’s even worse for lower income persons and those without jobs as policies and the paradigm beneath them reflect a blame the victim mentality – if you’re unemployed, hungry, homeless, sick and uneducated – it’s 100% your fault.
But we are also here to lift up alternatives: to address the debt and deficit:
– End tax cuts to the super rich
– Abolish subsidies and tax breaks to mega corporations
– Stop funding Pentagon waste – military bases, weapon systems
So let us today rally, march, make noise, be heard gain energy from one another.
But our activism can’t end today.
Yes we need to call, write and visit our elected reps. But just as important, we must build power – independent power, all inclusive power, people power that can’t be ignored. That can only happen by working together in coalition. Staying together. Educating together. Organizing together. Resisting austerity together. Demanding a better world together.
In the end, that’s why we’re here.