February 22, 2000
Contact: Marie Mason, 231-326-5505
Citizens Rally for Environmental Protection and Human Rights at Republican Headquarters
Traverse City, MI—This evening several citizens held a rally to expose the Republican agenda of environmental destruction and Human Rights abuse. They handed out fliers about Senator McCain’s and Governor George Bush’s past and current policies on these subjects. They helped to draw attention to the issues by handing out free food, chanting and drumming outside the headquarters.
They said that they did not support any candidate for president. "We are a non-partisan group that is only interested in exposing the abuses these men are responsible for in both the realm of Human rights and the environment," said David Unger.
According to the fliers, McCain is responsible for the largest forced relocation of Native Americans in the past century. Over 15,000 people have been moved off of their traditional lands, where they were living traditional lives, so that Peabody Coal could strip mine the land. The relocation is in its last throws, as they are currently in the process of moving the last 1,000 people out of their hogans in the desert.
"This is a despicable act," said Marie Mason. "The Native Americans have been at the brunt end of U.S. policy for the country’s entire existence. You would think our government would have grown in its capacity to be more humane in that time. But racist people like McCain are continuing these policies of genocide."
They say that George Bush is no better. His policies have turned Texas into the number one polluter of air and water. Texas also ranks 49th in the level of spending on environmental protection and 48th in funding public health.
"Texas has long been the dumping ground of the nation," said Sara Davis. "Governor Bush has attempted to place, and has placed toxic waste dumps in many rural towns composed primarily of poor people of Mexican background."
Bush has also signed the death warrants of 100 people. Many of these people committed the crimes they are accused of before they were 18. The activists say they were victims of a society that does not offer the same opportunities to all individuals.
"Instead of taking a proactive attitude towards crime whereby youth are engaged in programs that prevent their entering the alternative economy of crime and drugs in the first place, Bush has chosen instead a punitive route where the failures of society are laid at the door of the poor and disenfranchised who suffer doubly," continued Unger.
"We are out here today to promote awareness about these issues. We do not think that any of these people running for office are qualified to represent us as president. In fact, we are serving free vegan food to help show people that we can have a society based on mutual aid and respect. We don’t need governments to run our lives; we have the ability to provide and make decisions for ourselves that are a benefit to our communities," commented Mason on the serving of free food by Food Not Bombs.