Sunday, July 01, 2007

Gathering of Advocates in Atlanta

Official Start of U.S Social Forum

Day Two (Official Day One) Another hot day in Atlanta with the temperature around 90 some degrees. The parade kicked off in the afternoon at the State Capital. We headed over to Centennial Olympic Park past the monument to capitalism: World of Coke or Coca Cola World or whatever. An entire building designed to a stupid drink, and thousands of tourists pay to enter this shrine to corporate dominance. By the way, the entire city is dominated by Coke. They sponsor time in Atlanta and Diet Coke sponsors the temperature. They support nearly every art institution and they seem to own the transportation system. There are many workshops about how bad Coke is to India, workers, and water resources, and there is a protest scheduled after a Native American water ceremony.

We went over to the parade for the start of the United States Social Forum and found a few of the Cleveland group who came down. There were some great signs and great papier-mache masks. A lot of talk of impeachment and the state of America. If nothing else, progressives know how to throw a good parade. Drums circles, performance artists, and every possible progressive or radical political cause under the sun. It was the most diverse collection of people I have ever seen. All under the watchful eye of the Atlanta police in their motorcycles, helicopters, Segues, and those cool Atlanta police cars. There were 10,000 advocates for social justice in the streets of one of the meanest cities in the United States toward homeless people.

Their Civic Center is the center of the progressive universe for this week. There were tents for the indigenous peoples, Africa, Democracy, tent of the Americas, Immigrant rights, Youth, Native American, Solidarity Economy, and our friends from Philadelphia with the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Tent. I met up with the group that came down on a bus. There were 40 people from various progressive organizations like Jobs With Justice, Organize!Ohio, STOP, and May Dugan Center. There were hundreds of information tables with literature on every problem from the 9/11 conspiracy theorists to the Vegans and the Cuban 5 supporters.

Regarding NEOCH's financial situation: The Cleveland Tenants Organization is collecting letters of support. We have received calls from many of our friends asking what they can do to help. All of the outpouring of support has certainly raised the spirits of the Board and staff. I have stayed in contact with people back in Cleveland, and we are fighting for our future.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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