CU Citizens March to Pass the Township Poverty Referendum

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It was a beautiful day for the fifth annual Unity March
on Saturday, October 4, 2008, an event organized by
Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice. This
year’s march was dedicated to passage of the coming
Township referendum on the ballot this election day, a
measure that would raise funds to help the poorest of
the poor in Champaign. A diverse crowd of approximately
150 people marched to stamp out poverty.
The march kicked off at the Township office in
Champaign. T-shirts were passed out that read on the
back, “Freedom From Extreme Poverty is a Human
Right.” They were made to promote The Faces of Poverty,
a documentary video made about the Champaign
Township showing on television this month.
Several members of the Champaign Township
Board were present, including Mayor Jerry
Schweighart, Michael La Due, Karen Foster, Tom
Bruno, and Gina Jackson.
A long procession of marchers walked up Randolph,
went through downtown Champaign, and met for a
rally in Douglass Park. As the crowd assembled on a hill
in the park, they chanted, “Whose park? The people’s
park.” En route, marchers passed by the Catholic Worker’s
House and the Times Center, two other places where
the poor receive assistance but which remain largely
hidden in our community.
Aaron Ammons led the crowd in chants such as,
“We’ve got money for war, but can’t feed the poor” and
“Get up! Get down! Anti-racists in this town.”
After the march, free food was provided in the park
annex. A check-in list at the front door was signed by
130 people who stayed around to eat pizza, fried fish,
and cupcakes.
Thanks to all the sponsors of Unity March V:
AWARE, Radio Liberacion!, Prarie Green Party, Central
Illinois Jobs With Justice, School for Designing a Society,
Urbana-Champaign Friends Meeting, Central Illinois
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Channing-
Murray Foundation, University Coalition of Trades and
Labor Unions. Additional thanks goes to the iHelp student
volunteers from the University of Illinois.
The Face of Poverty will be aired by City Government
Television. CGTV is carried on Insight Communications’
cable channel 5.

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