Alternative Groups Try to be Heard Over the Roar of the GOP

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About 3 miles east of the red-white-and-blue draped Q, a couple hundred people gathered for a Peace and Justice Convention. Progressives, libertarians, environmentalists and the politically unchurched gathered in the basement of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church for workshops ranging from fighting Islamaphobia to registering voters.

Come Sunday, the work moved to the other side of town and this convention’s organizer Greg Coleridge said the group had a peace and justice platform “that we believe represents the very best suggestions that are just, peaceful, democratic and non-violent as well as sustainable.”

Coleridge pledged it’s a platform that will be shared inside both the Republican convention in Cleveland this week and the Democratic gathering in Philadelphia next week – though the logistics were a little uncertain. In any case, it’s a message that will be declared on the stage at Cleveland’s Public Square this week, a message another organizer, Khalid Samar, says the country needs to hear.

“We are those that are inclusive and not exclusive. We are those who understand the world has enough resources, it has enough talent, it has enough spiritual optimism in order to make our world a safer and a more productive place.”

But lest anyone think this was a Democratic gathering, Lydia Bayoneta was there to explain otherwise. A socialist, she says,”for a long-long time the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are basically Tweedle D/Tweedle Dum. There hasn’t a great deal of differences in them.”




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