SEATTLE (Nov. 17) — More than a thousand workers, students, unemployed people, and other community members peacefully marched to Seattle’s University Bridge tonight to declare an economic emergency for the 99%. The march was part of a National Day of Action taking place in dozens of cities across the country from New York to Los Angeles to Portland to send a message to political leaders: it’s time to invest in our communities and create good jobs — not make more cuts to education, health care, and other services.
“I am a nursing student currently in my labor and delivery rotation,” said University of Washington student Hunter Marshall. “Each week I have the honor of being present for a child’s birth. When I look at these newborns, I feel ashamed of the condition of the world they are entering.”
“I took part in today’s march,” he said, “to try and create a world where each one of the children who I see come into the world has equal opportunity to pursue affordable, accessible education that allows them to find good jobs with benefits.”
The Seattle march — drawing students, workers, faith leaders, and members of the Occupy movement — came on the same day as a new revenue forecast which shows the state continues to struggle with revenue that’s not adequate to provide the services we need. After $10 billion in state cuts in recent years, today’s $100-million-plus downward revision to projected revenue could mean still-more proposed cuts — cuts that we simply can’t afford.
In signs, chats, and even a giant 100-foot tall balloon banner, the message was clear, direct, and unmistakeable: “Jobs, Not Cuts!”
Protestors marched in Seattle and across the country today to call on elected officials to recognize the economic emergency and jobs crisis in our communities — and to hold the big corporations and Wall Street banks accountable for making a tough economic situation even worse. Recent census figures revealed shocking rates of poverty and unemployment in Washington State: 13% of Washington residents received Food Stamps in the past year. More than 30% of families don’t have private health care coverage. And 15% of families with children are living below the poverty line, including 30% of female-headed households. Meanwhile, unemployment in communities of color is nearly 20%.
And all of these figures date from before the latest rounds of cuts in Olympia and Washington, D.C.
The University Bridge where protestors marched was itself built almost 100 years ago, and has been deemed “functionally obsolete” by the Federal Highway Administration. The bridge was reconstructed in 1933, and dedicated that year in a personal visit by President Franklin Roosevelt.
Marchers today called on Congress and the State Legislature to ease the economic crisis by making investments in bridges, transportation, education, and health care. It’s time to create jobs and improve our communities, instead of making more cuts that we cannot afford.