|Commerating MLK's anti-war stance 35th anniversary
Nat T. Bender
|Peace Delegation Confronts Senators to Honor MLK Legacy|
|Marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech announcing, "Why I oppose the war in Vietnam," a group of demonstrators thwarted building security and Newark police to bring their demand for an immediate cease-fire in Iraq to the offices of Senators Corzine and Lautenberg Friday. Following a NJ Peace Action press conference and protest commemorating King's statement, thirteen activists entered the Gateway One building on Market Street to follow-up on repeated requests to meet with the Senators and their staff members.
After being refused entry at a security desk, the group sat down to block the entrance until Corzine's staffers relented to their demands to meet.
But the hour-long meeting proved a frustrating reminder of both politicians' positions, according to Carol Gay of NJ Labor Against the War. Gay described the group's reaction when the staffers told them "We're with you, you're preaching to the choir," because Corzine had initially voted against military action without United Nations approval. "We all just erupted and told them, 'No, you're really not,'" she said. "We're calling for you to support an immediate cease-fire in Iraq and for the troops to be brought home safely now. Meanwhile these politicians are trying to portray themselves as helpless to go against the tide in Washington."
Eventually, the group settled for a promise for the Senators to issue position statements and schedule a meeting between the group and Sen. Lautenberg next week.
Press conference organizer Madelyn Hoffman, Director of NJ Peace Action marked the date by announcing a campaign to "pressure our elected officials to join Congressman Dennis Kucinich in calling for an immediate end to this illegal war."