People came from all over California including a bus from Los Angeles. Students for Justice in San Jose area also filled a bus that was subsidized by union donations. Car pooling took place from Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Mendicino and Contra Costa Counties.
The first rally took place in Civic Center Plaza in front of city hall where a number of speakers got the events started including;
President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tom Ammiano; Walter Johnson, Secretary Treasurer of the San Francisco Labor Council; Elizabeth Martinez, Director of the Institute for Multi-Racial Justice; Willie Ratcliff, Editor of the Bay View Newspaper, an African American newspaper in the Bayview-Hunters Point community; prisoner rights activist Joyce Miller; spoken word artist Jime Salcedo; Cora Lee Simmons or the Round Valley Indians for Justice, Marsha Feiland of Peace and Freedom Party, and Tahnee Stair from the IAC who reported on the Iraq Sanctions Challenge that had just returned the day before.
At 1 p.m., the march left Civic Center and wound its way into the Western Addition district and ended at Jefferson Square Park. The front of the march was particularly militant and visually powerful, with many banners raising a number of issues and struggles, including the racist disenfranchisement of the African American vote, Mumia, the death penalty, Colombia, Chiapas, and Cuba to name a few. The majority of the people in front were youth including a large group of lesbian and gay high schools students from Los Angeles.
The rally at Jefferson Square Park included, speakers and performers. Ted Frazier of the NAACP talked about their legal battle in Florida to free the Black vote, and Elias Rashmawi from the ADC spoke about the struggle of the Palestinian people.Gloria La Riva, Workers World Party vice-presidential candidate spoke on the struggle to free Mumia and end the racist death penalty. Also speaking were S.F. Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, Alicia Jrapko from the US Out of Colombia Committee of the IAC, Pierre Labossiere of the Bay Area Haitian American Council, Nancy Charraga of the S.F. Zapatista Support Committee, Shin Yi of Asian Left Network, Salvador Cordon of the FMLN of El Salvador, Renee Salcedo of Centro Legal de la Raza, Carlos Padilla of Students for Justice, Ross Mirkarimi of the Green Partyand spoken word artists Company of Prophets performed. In all there were 35 speakers and performers. The rallies were co chaired by Richard Becker and John Parker of the IAC, Rev. Dorsey Blake of the Church of the Fellowship of All Peoples, Chicano activist and KPFA radio personality Miguel Molina, and Gloria La Riva.
Jan. 20 was a huge success as an opening salvo against the Bush regime and the ruling class as a whole. While most of the movement came out, thousands of new people were there as well, many participating in their first protests. Hundreds signed up to be involved in future activities.
To get involved in the upcoming campaigns on the International Action Center, call us at (415) 821-6545 or email email@example.com.
Part of the student caravan from Los Angeles
Photo by Julie La Riva