SAN DIEGO LABOR RALLY: "NOT A DAY TO CELEBRATE--BUT A DAY TO AGITATE!"
"I left my job to run for Congress - to fight for you - the working men and women who are the true heart and soul of America. Like you, I have known what it is to stand in the unemployment line. I've been without health insurance...Like you, I will not give up. I will not be invisible...All of us, employed and unemployed must make our voices heard, because we have become the new "Silent Majority."
- David Secor, who aims to run against Congressman Duncan Hunter and represent East County
Reprinted with permission from OB Rag; Secor comments added by ECM
September 6, 2011 (San Diego)--Under gray skies, over 350 people gathered along Broadway yesterday in downtown San Diego at a Labor Day “Rally for the Jobless.” Organized by MoveOn and Rebuild the American Dream, the noon event was designed to gather unemployed San Diegans and put pressure on the White House and Congress for jobs.
Waving signs, banners and flags the demonstrators dominated that block of downtown for a couple of hours, with chants, horns honking in support, and then with a rally where many local politicians spoke. “Jobs – not cuts!” was a familiar refrain from the crowd.
The gathering was energized when a sea of yellow-shirts worn by grocery workers and their supporters marched into the crowd, chanting “We want a contract, and we want it now!” Lorena Gonzalez – the head of the Labor Council – yelled out to organizers as she appeared in the midst of the marchers, “I brought a few of my friends along!”
Congressional reps Bob Filner and Susan Davis spoke, as did State Senator Juan Vargas, along with Lori Saldana who is running against Brian Bilbray in newly-drawn Congressional district. Gonzalez also addressed the crowd, as did Floyd Morrow, a former City Councilman, Gregg Robinson, Grossmont College professor and vice-president of his AFT local, Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, head of Activist San Diego, and Frank Gormlie, the MoveOn coordinator.
David Secor, a Democrat who has announced plans to run against Duncan Hunter to represent East County in Congress, also addressed the crowd.
"The reason you have never heard of me is because I am not a politician. I am a worker. I am one of you," he said, pledging to fight for the rights of working people, the middle class and senior citizens. "I am a veteran of the Vietnam War. In my time I have been a factory worker, a maintenance man, a truck driver. I have worked in housekeeping. I have been a teacher, a warehouseman, and spent the last 19 years in Superior Court just down the street."
In his speech, Secor called on Congress to support a jobs bill that President Barack Obama is set to introduce this Thursday to put people back to work. "It is absolutely vital that your representatives in Congress vote "YES" for jobs," Secor said, but added, "I can tell you now, that Mr. Hunter and the extremist majority in the House, will vote "No." They will simply say `We can't afford it.' Well I say we can't afford NOT to do it!"
One of Gormlie’s refrains was: “We’re not here to celebrate Labor Day – we’re here to agitate!”
When Filner grabbed the bullhorn, he exhorted the crowd to join him to turn the city around. “There’s no reason,” the mayoral candidate declared, “that San Diego can’t have its own jobs program!” The crowd roared its approval.
Speaker after speaker, Lorena Gonzalez, Susan Davis, Gregg Robinson, Floyd Morrow – all spoke of how San Diegans need to join together, form a movement to change the City’s narrative, to make labor a partner in the changes, to fix our broken infrastructure, to press for good green jobs.