Making Conservatives Jealous
Peninsula-raised NAACP president organizes a D.C. rally to rival Glenn Beck’s.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Ben Jealous – a 37-year-old Pacific Grove native, York High School grad and Rhodes Scholar – organized a boisterous rally Oct. 2 in the nation’s capitol to bring attention to the need for jobs and social justice.
Jealous, who last year became the NAACP president, led an energetic gathering from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
Jealous said the “One Nation Working Together” rally, which drew up to 150,000 people, was “the biggest organizing moment of [his] life.”
The racially diverse crowd wore boldly colored T-shirts and toted signs with a variety of messages: “What we want now is JOBS!” “NAACP Says Justice for All Now!!!” “Stand Against War and Racism.” “Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are Racist.”
The rally shut down main arteries in and around the capitol and created a bit of a traffic nightmare for locals.
Standing near the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, speakers proclaimed the urgency for the government to remember its workers – to provide higher quality education, more jobs, better benefits and fairer representation in the workplace.
An estimated 400 nonprofit organizations participated in the rally, filling more than 2,000 buses with educators, steel workers, environmentalists, miners, gay and lesbian activists, and social justice leaders.
The “One Nation” event was organized, in part, to respond to Glenn Beck’s Aug. 28 “Restoring Honor” gathering on the national mall, which according to the Associated Press drew a similar number of people.
At that event, conservative speakers from Beck to Sarah Palin also referenced King’s famous speech for the Tea Party-leaning crowd.