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Houston coalition of working people and the poor demands economic justice

By Paul Hill
HOUSTON - About 300 activists for justice gathered at City Hall in downtown Houston on 3/24/07 to demand full funding for human needs programs and an end to the war in Iraq. The Coalition of Working People and the Poor called the action and it was supported by a broad coalition of progressive organizations to include religious organizations, NAACP, AFL-CIO, Justice for Janitors, Children's Defense Fund, Houston Peace and Justice Center, elected officials and many more. The coalition is led by Bishop James Dixon, II of the Community of Faith Church. He gave a rousing speech which was enthusiastically received.

A march was held through downtown Houston. People chanted, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Right now!" The group was ethnically diverse and included people from various organizations.

Herb Rothschild of the Houston Peace and Justice Center declared to the audience, "We need a minimum wage raise so working people can support their families!" He also called for health care and quality education for children.

Congressperson Al Green told the audience that we need a policy to bring the troops home safely from Iraq. He reminded us that he and Sheila Jackson-Lee, both of Houston, voted to bring the troops home safely in the recent bill which passed in the House of Representatives. He said, "We must not allow the well-off, the well-heeled and the well-to-do to fare well at the expense of the least and the last and the lost." He called for a raise in the minimum wage so that people can say, "fare well to welfare!"

Bishop James Dixon, II was the last speaker and acknowledged the "rainbow" nature of the coalition. He quoted John Edgar Wideman in his introduction to the book "The souls of black folks" by W.E.B. DuBois, "that America's pretensions to greatness will remain just pretensions until the benefits of freedom, democracy and opportunity are enjoyed by all of our citizens." He stated, "We are not going to be quiet until freedom, democracy and opportunity are accessible on an equal basis to all of America's citizens."

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