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D.C. Council members come out in support of rally

Washington Post Editors

A majority of the D.C. Council threw their full support behind Saturday's "One Nation Working Together, D.C." march on the Mall, widely viewed as an effort to rally Democratic-leaning voters ahead of the November midterm elections.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, the presumptive next mayor, and six other members joined labor leaders and NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous at an hour-long news conference Thursday at the John A. Wilson Building to urge city residents to attend the rally.

"Labor unions are under attack and working men and women are under attack," said council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5). "This city is not going to take it."

Council members Kwame Brown (D-At Large), Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and David Catania (I-At Large) also spoke at the news conference.

Each council member stressed differing views on why it was important for city residents to join the protest, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across the country. Catania, for example, said the city's gay and lesbian residents should use it to send a signal that they want more rights. Others spoke about the push for D.C. voting rights in Congress.

"I think there is general frustration that we have very serious problems and our political system is failing," Catania said.

Jealous stressed that the rally is "nonpartisan" event to keep the public discussion focused on job creation.

"They are coming because in tough times, we have to stand up for jobs and people are tired of seeing such divisiveness on TV," said Jealous, noting that at least 1,600 buses will be arriving with protesters Saturday.

The event, which will be held one month before the November election, appears to be an effort to counteract several recent marches on Washington by conservative commentator Glenn Beck and members of the tea party movement. Those conservative-themed marches drew hundreds of thousands of people to Washington.

But the heavily Democratic council never put out the welcome mat for those protesters or held news conferences to try to increase turnout. When pressed by reporters about whether it was appropriate for the council to use city resources to promote Saturday's event, Gray said he doesn't "see it as a partisan event."

"I see it as an effort to support those things that will help the people of this city," said Gray, who plans to participate in the march.

But the news conference also appeared at times to be an effort by local labor leaders to flex their political muscle in the aftermath of Gray's election over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). Shelia H. Gill, a former counselor in D.C. public schools, spoke about how she believes she was unfairly terminated by the Fenty administration. Joslyn N. Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, also mentioned recent layoffs in city government during his remarks.

By Tim Craig  | September 30, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, D.C. Council, Mayor Fenty, Tim Craig, Vincent C. Gray  
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Muriel Bowser your days are numbered!

Posted by: dcnatives | September 30, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

If the tea party brigade accepted that the Glenn Beck rally was "non-partisan" they most certainly should be able to accept a rally seeking to bring American's together, of whatever political affiliation, as being non-partisan.

Who said that managers and labor leaders cannot reach a common accord that works to serve a constituency that each depend on, human capital.

I support the council's commitment to showing itself as a unified body representing all the citizens of the city.

Those who want to work together, can work together.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 30, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I love these comments, but guess which one I like the best!

Posted by: | September 30, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

these guys will help the Republicans take the house and senate...
can anyone count the number of racist statements made against whites and straights and the catholic church...
the more militant they become, the more engaged Americans will be at the polls...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 1, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

DC politics as usual, although one wonders exactly how the "nonpartisan" manage to coordinate and pay for those 1600 buses (or supposedly 1600) It is a big "whatever"; same old politics by the same tired players

Posted by: chasovnya | October 1, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't support nothing the NAACP promotes. NAACP should be addressing illegal immigration and illegal aliens taking construction and service industry jobs from working poor U.S. citizens, mainly black U.S. citizens.

I agree, Ward 4 D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser days are numbered. Good riddance to her and King Fenty.

Posted by: Ward4DC | October 1, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Unlike Beck's rally, this one is based on the Gimme Platform, with welfare, racist, union and illegal alien groups pimping for their props.

The fact that the Communist party is involved makes my skin crawl.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | October 1, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I hope that they are not subsidizing this OR any other rally by any party. With the schools having a money need, the need for more police as per the U St. murder, and Metro needing funding, how and why are they going to subsidize a party?

Posted by: stopthemadness | October 1, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Muriel Bowser is a good council member who has done a lot of good for my ward. I see no reason to get rid of her. I do see two people who's comments are always crybaby complaints though.

Posted by: nmoses | October 1, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

As a Ward 4 resident, I also don't understand the hate for Bowser. I voted for Gray but that doesn't mean I'm going to turn on Muriel simply because she supported Fenty.

I'll be at the One Nation March tomorrow. It will be the awakening of progressives (a sleeping giant) and something I hope will carry over into Nov. 2 when we need to show up at the polls and keep the Repubs from turning back the clock to the Bush era and the policies that got us into this mess. Forever forward, never backward!

Posted by: rglass23 | October 1, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

will his honor for life marion be making an appearance? white bread invited? no differen than the last bunch of fools doing this

Posted by: pofinpa | October 1, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: drfields | October 1, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Did I hear that the sponsors of this rally were...

The NEA (National Education Association)
Planned Parent Hood
The Communist Party USA

????? is this the CHANGE we can believe in?

What do all these groups have in common?

Doesn't look good to me... how about you?

Posted by: btrask3 | October 2, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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