Some of the nation's biggest heavyweights in the civil rights, labor and student movements will be gathering on Capitol Hill this weekend for massive rally to call for a national emphasis on jobs. And in a time when Glenn Beck is clogging the airways, and hogging precious rally time, the progressive call to arms is an especially poignant attempt to shift the national debate over domestic policy in the weeks leading up to midterm elections.
The march, called One Nation Working Together, is being sponsored by a long list of progressive advocacy groups, including the NAACP, Immigration Equality, UNITE Here, and the United States Student Association. Overall, there are more than 400 groups involved -- a massive outpouring of support that's so large that an addendum had to be added to the rally's official website.
The rally is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 2 at the Lincoln Memorial and expected to draw hundreds of thousands of supporters.
NAACP President Ben Jealous made his case for march last week in The Nation, with an op-ed co-authored by Deepak Bhargava from the Center for Community Change:
...as we careen toward a possible double-dip recession and a second round of devastating home foreclosures, the extreme right=wing media machine is desperately trying to discredit the idea that America's government can and should move aggressively to create more jobs. To the contrary, we hear incessant warnings about an imminent collapse, the ruin of the Republic, if we don't take drastic and desperate measures to slash federal spending to bone and marrow. An army of "experts" is on TV all day sounding the alarm bells, warning of economic doom and screaming "the sky is falling."
Pardon us. Nothing they say should persuade our leaders to throw America's working families under the bus.
We want a country that advances a diverse, quality educational system. We need a government that practices justice, whether its passing comprehensive immigration reform or fixing a broken criminal justice system that incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. This is no time for timidity. October 2 will mark an important transition point. Among all Americans the microphone must pass from Beltway insiders making excuses to belt-tightening families making demands.
Throughout the rally, organizers will encourage One Nation goers practice their right to vote in the mid term elections and beyond by emphasizing that only with unified voter turnout will jobs be created, injustices be rooted out and education be saved.
Jealous argued his point further on Tuesday.
"We aren't the alternative to the tea party, we are the antidote," the NAACP President told the Washington Post.
The team that produces the NAACP's annual Image Awards show will put together the program for One Nation.
Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president of AFL-CIO, argued that the rally will be an important moment in a movement that's too often been broken up into niche groups fighting for singular causes.
"We can either sit here and not move forward or we can go backward," Holt Baker told the Post.
The diversity that rally organizers are boasting stretches far beyond race., and has even brought together groups that are often at odds with one another. For example, LGBT advocates like the Human Rights Campaign or Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) will be alongside socially conservative faith groups like the National Missionary Baptist Church. The not-so-environmentally-friendly mineworkers unions and groups of environmentalists will also be fellow marchers.
Unlike the Glenn Beck 'Restoring Honor' rally that talked little about politics and more about values and religion, or the dueling mock rallies spearheaded by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, this rally will be unflinchingly rooted in politics.
Go ahead and see for yourself.