Civil rights figure to speak at rally
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
Antiwar activists expect Saturday's protest at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park to be attended by 25,000 people Ñ a quarter more than the estimated 20,000 who marched through downtown Portland on Jan. 18.
'We know we need large numbers if we're going to send any kind of message against war with Iraq,' said Will Seaman of Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, one of the event organizers.
The protest will start with a 2 p.m. speech by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a veteran of the civil rights movement. Among other things, Lewis was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington and took part in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
'We're honored to have a person of Lewis' stature address the rally. He will talk about the link between the civil rights and antiwar movements,' said Frank Fromherz, director of the Office of Justice and Peace of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, one of the event organizers.
The protest is sponsored by more than 150 peace, labor, religious and human rights organizations. The coalition Ñ called the Alliance for Peace and Justice Ñ has taken out a city parade permit for a march to follow Lewis' speech and is working with the Portland Police Bureau on arrangements.
'We're not anticipating any problems,' said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz.
The march will go through downtown Portland to Northwest Broadway then return to the waterfront, where additional speakers are planned.
Several groups, including the Pacific Green Party, are planning their own rallies before marching to the park.
The event is scheduled to coincide with similar protests in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and other major cities across the country.
Before the rally, Lewis is scheduled to address the 15th annual Peac-ing It Together conference, which begins at 10 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Church, 25 N. Portland Blvd.
The conference also will feature the Holy Redeemer Youth Gospel Choir. It is sponsored by the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the Office of Justice and Peace of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland. It is open to the public.
The conference will end at noon with a reception for Lewis.