The Rev. LeRoy Haynes
A broad cross-section of Portlanders — from union members to peace activists, from members of the faith community to plain old concerned citizens — is expected to turn out at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Sunday, March 19, for a rally and march to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq War.
The program begins at 1:30 p.m. with a slate of speakers headlined by Ramon Ramirez, president of the regional farm workers' union, PCUN. Ramirez will speak on the strong bonds being forged between a wide array of diverse communities and organizations by their common opposition to the war in Iraq.
The Rev. LeRoy Haynes, pastor of Allen Temple CME church and member of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, will speak on issues of international law and human rights. Haynes is a longtime veteran of the civil rights struggle, having served with both the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Texas. He has been at the forefront in Portland's movement for police accountability.
A special guest speaker also will appear at the rally — Eman Ahmed Khamas, an Iraqi journalist, translator and human rights activist who lives in Baghdad with her husband and two daughters.Khamas, who has traveled from Iraq as part of a nationwide speaking tour of Iraqi women, will address daily life in Iraq under the American occupation. She has regularly published articles on conditions for women in Iraq since the American invasion in March 2003. She has also worked to mobilize relief supplies for victims of the war.
Vietnam veteran Steven DeFord will represent military families and organizations. DeFord's son, Oregon National Guard Sgt. David Wayne Johnson, lost his life in Iraq when a roadside bomb destroyed his Humvee.
Also scheduled to speak are: Zaha Hassan and Steve Goldberg, leaders in the local Palestinian and Jewish communities,respectively; Alfredo Cano, of the American Friends Service Committee; Luis Primo, regional coordinator of the Venezuelan National Union of Workers; and Jamila Wahab, a documentary filmmaker from Afghanistan.
Representatives from various local civil rights, antiwar, labor rights and environmental organizations will be on hand with literature, and a host of local musicians will warm up the crowd before the speakers begin. The march steps off at 2:30 p.m.
"We the people have the right to have our money spent on nonviolent methods of bringing humanitarian aid to countries that need our help, including our own," said Lucinda Tate, chair of the Portland Rainbow Coalition and an organizer of the rally. "Our military men and women should be seen globally as peacekeepers, not messengers of death and destruction.
"How can we all in consciousness continue to support a war that is killing our own sons and daughters and the people of a country that had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks … ? It is time to bring our troops home now and start the peace process of nonviolence."
For more information, call Peace and Justice Works, 503-236-3065. To download fliers and posters, visit the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition's Web site, www.pprc-news.org.