The 1978 song lyrics sung by Funkadelic of One Nation under a Groove are timelier than ever. At the conclusion of the One Nation rally held on October 2, the lyrics rang loud of” One nation and we’re on the move, nothin’ can stop us now”. That’s how many progressives felt at the end of the One Nation rally for jobs, justice and education.
I had little information beforehand going into the rally. I knew it was billed as a rally for jobs, justice and education. I had no preconceived notions of what to expect. That turned out to be a good thing. What I saw, heard and sensed far outweighed anything I could have conceived. The estimates of tens of thousands of people appear correct based on what I observed. A picture is worth a thousand words. The pictures showed people lined from the Lincoln monument down the Reflecting pond to the World War II monument. That’s a lot of folks. I was impressed more by the people present than the sheer numbers. I saw people of all races, ages, ethnicity, nationalities and sexual orientation all standing together for one common cause. I saw people in wheel chairs, walkers, canes and baby strollers. It was an event for many of nostalgic proportions.
Speakers are too many to name for the four hour rally. Each participant kept their remarks short and on point. The essence of all the speeches was primarily the same theme. We are one nation and not two Americas. Speakers spoke in uniformity about the oneness of our country saying everyone is our brother and sister. Voices proclaimed America’s heart is big enough and generous enough to contain all of us. Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke for the need to vote saying the vote has power. He reminded us that we cannot let “them” break our spirit. We must vote. It was almost a rallying cry. We know the “them” to who he was referring. It refers to all who want to divide America into two and “take their part back”. Unity was the prevailing theme of the day. Speakers fiercely spoke about the two different dreams before us. One dream divides us; another dream unites us. The choice is clear. Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, acknowledged the words of Pres. Abraham Lincoln that a nation divided against each other cannot stand.
The President of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest labor union in the country spoke about the need for equal access to a quality public education. An education enables us to achieve the American dream. He went on to state that equal access to a quality education is a fundamental right.
Other issues addressed throughout the day were ending the war, immigration reform, jobs, justice and education for all. The rally set the positive tone for why we must vote in November. There is still much more work to do. With President Obama’s rallies set for Philadelphia (October 10), Ohio (October 17) and Las Vegas (October 27),”ain’t” no stopping us now. We’re on the move.” Vote November 2.
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Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, Esq. writes on race, law, women and politics. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a native of Baltimore, MD.