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African Americans Must Embrace Anti-War Movement


PEOPLE'S ORGANIZATION FOR PROGRESS
POST OFFICE BOX 22505
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY 07101-2505
(973) 801-0001




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  LAWRENCE HAMM (973) 801-0001 /

AN APPEAL TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS TO SUPPORT THE PEACE MOVEMENT

(Statement by Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People's Organization For Progress, at a press conference held in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday, October 24, 2002).

Today, the People's Organization For Progress makes a special appeal to the African-American community, especially its leadership, from the lowest to the highest levels, to oppose war with Iraq and actively support the peace movement. We believe opposition to the impending unjust war with Iraq is in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, W.E.B. Dubois, Paul Robeson, and many of the other great human and civil rights leaders of our people.

As Dr. Martin Luther King opposed the war in Vietnam, we must oppose this march to war with Iraq. We call upon all leaders in the black community, especially our elected officials, labor and religious leaders, heads of fraternal, professional, and civic organizations, community and student activists to speak out against the war and actively participate in the anti-war movement. We must embrace and connect the peace movement to our movement for human and civil rights.

As Dr. King pointed out more than 35 years ago, there is a "facile" relationship between the billions that we are spending for war abroad and the negative conditions that exist in our communities here at home. The initial invasion of Iraq could cost between 100 billion and 200 billion dollars, not to mention what we would have to spend to occupy that country afterwards.

Rather than spending those billions on war we should be using that money to create jobs with decent wages, eliminate poverty and homelessness in our nation, provide health care for all who need it, build housing and schools, increase scholarships and financial aid for students, assist farmers and small businesses, provide aid to our cities, fund mass transit and clean up our environment, and help our veterans from previous wars.

War and racism are evil twins joined at the hip. The drive for war in Iraq is exacerbating racial and ethnic tensions, hostilities, and violence here in the United States. Racial profiling which was condemned almost universally a year ago is now being supported as an institutional practice.

A great movement for peace is rising up around the world and in our country. African-Americans, who have been a tremendous catalyst for social justice in this country can make a significant contribution to the movement for peace, and in so doing help build a powerful force against those who would perpetuate racism and drag us into catastrophic wars.