WASHINGTON — Rev. Al Sharpton gave advanced warning to select cities around the country: the Jobs and Justice rally and march that took place in the nation’s capital is coming to a city near you. And a lot of them at that.
Sharpton, the founder and president of the National Action Network, told the multitude of demonstrators and activists from around the nation that he and the NAN will take the Jobs for Justice rally concept to at least 25 cities around the country starting in November.
“This is the first day of a continuing movement. We are going to choose 25 cities of those congressman who remain on the fence about this jobs bill,” Sharpton vowed.
Record unemployment, a prolonged enconomic slump and the appearance of serial impropriety on Wall Street has lit a fuse across a broad tapestry of Americans, resulting in cultural quakes that has shaken the nation’s Capital. Sharpton knew that the masses would come out for the Jobs and Justice march on the eve of the dedication of the Martin Luther King National Memorial on the National Mall.
“I’m very excited. When we called this march, we said we would bring thousands here. And they came. And we intend to camp out in Washington and these other cities,” Sharpton thundered before the throngs who assembled before the towering Washington Memorial, inciting ear-piercing cheers. “I’ve been to the Occupy Wall Street and we are joined here today by Occupy DC. This is about the 1 percent controlling about 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. We are going to make sure that this country deals immediately with the issue of jobs.”
Many dignitaries and esteemed activists were in attendance, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, actor-activist Dick Gregroy, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Tom Joyner’s radio show sidekicks Cybil Wilkes and J. Anthony Brown, union leaders and District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray.
“This is the weekend that we will celebrate the memorial being dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves that there is work that’s yet to be done. We must continue to work to get people back to work,” said Gray, who had just led a rally and march of his own, the D.C. Statehood rally, where those participants then marched over to where Sharpton and thousands of others had just begun their rally.