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Anti-war march set for August 25

by staff |
August 13, 2007
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Newark, NJ - On Aug. 25, almost 44 years to the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech to between a quarter and a half million people, the Peace and Justice Coalition, an alliance of more than 120 peace and justice organizations, will march in Newark, New Jersey.

Concerned and disappointed that Martin Luther King’s dream is far from realized, the People’s March for Peace, Equality, Jobs and Justice will draw connections between the funds and resources being used to conduct a war abroad and the problems in our communities here at home. The Coalition will demand the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq - as a vital first step toward ending the war on our communities - and redirecting war funds to programs that address human needs.

“Everyone who wants peace in Iraq and social and economic justice at home should participate in this march on August 25 in Newark,” said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, a member group of the Peace and Justice Coalition.

The People’s March will start off from Lincoln Park at Broad Street at noon, march down Broad and return to Lincoln Park for a peace and justice festival. Organizers chose Newark as the center of this national march to draw attention to the impact of the war in Iraq on cities here at home and to help make visible the anti-war opposition most strongly felt in the African-American community ever since the war began. The march will show what happens when people take the initiative to make changes by organizing in their own communities. Organizers also note that the march marks the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe and the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Newark rebellion, “A major event in the struggle for racial justice…[which] helps to highlight the needs of our cities and the need for local organizing.”

After two well-received events - a conference that attracted 600 people from 115 different organizations and a major rally in March, on the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq - the multi-issue, multi-racial group formed in January of this year issued a call to join the People’s March for Peace, Equality, Jobs and Justice.

At the March 24, rally, Newark resident and Gold Star Parent James Kelly spoke about what it was like to lose his stepson, Staff Sergeant. Clarence Floyd, Jr., to the war in Iraq. A grief-stricken and angry Mr. Kelly noted that Floyd signed up after not being able to find a job to support his family, despite being a National Guard veteran. Decrying the circumstances that led to his stepson’s death, Kelly told the crowd of 400, “We are all prisoners of this war…and I’m tired of being collateral damage!”

In what organizers call a historic document because of its ability to outline a peace and justice agenda similar to the seven-point plan advocated for by Dr. King in 1963, the coalition urges groups nationally to converge on Newark to march for peace, human rights, equality, jobs, racial, social and environmental justice, an end to violence and justice for Katrina survivors.

More information on the coalition and the march is available by calling 801-457-4998, e-mailing or visiting the group’s web site: