The New Jersey Assembly Committee on Appropriations approved a resolution Jan. 3 to express an apology for the state’s role in slavery.
The Peace and Justice Coalition had three basic demands coming out of the conference, said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the Peoples Organization for Progress, who served as the conference’s moderator.
“We want an immediate end to the war, the troops brought home now and the money being spent for the war to be redirected toward domestic needs,” Mr. Hamm said.
“I thought the conference was successful in that it strengthened our resolve to make the connection between the trillion dollars being spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the suffering of our people here at home,” he told The Final Call.
Payne said slaves, unlike other new arrivals to America, “weren’t welcomed by the Statue of Liberty.” He showed pictures depicting suffering slaves jammed into ship holds.
“Like it or not, New Jersey had a role in all of this,” Payne said. “There is much for the state to atone for.”
The measure was backed by Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, a Newark group that advocates against poverty and racism.
“It is the right thing to do,” Hamm said. “It is always the right thing to do to recognize when a wrong has been done and then take steps to correct that injustice.”
Lawrence Hamm said that the event was “part of an ongoing organizing effort to increase African American and Latino participation in the peace movement and to link the struggle to end the war to the struggle for racial, social, and economic justice here at home.” An impressive turnout – and a very diverse crowd – would indicate the organizers have achieved a measure of success.
“Saturday was one of biggest marches held in Newark for a long time,” said Hamm. “I thought it sent two strong messages. The first is it said to the Bush administration that we want a change in spending priorities in this country, from the war in Iraq to the needs of people here at home. And we want the war to end. We want the troops to come home.”
On August 25, 2007, more than 1,000 people marched and rallied, on a blazing hot day in downtown Newark, NJ. Marching in solidarity, and calling for an immediate end to the Iraq war and the redirection of the billions spent on war toward the desperate needs in our communities at home, the diverse crowd commemorated the 44th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 40th anniversary of the Newark Rebellion. Lawrence Hamm and Vicki White of the People’s Organization for Progress kick off the rally at Lincoln Park. Video by Ian Cook.