Elevating Seldom-Heard Voices at the RNC
CLEVELAND – While party leaders and delegates make final preparations for the Republican National Convention next week, a convention for the people is kicking off today in Cleveland.
The People's Justice and Peace Convention 2016 will elevate problems pertaining to economic, environmental, political, racial and social justice - issues that organizers believe will not be addressed during the RNC.
Greg Coleridge with the American Friends Service Committee in Northeast Ohio contends current public policies benefit corporations and the wealthy, while ignoring the concerns of the vast majority of people.
"Just those constituencies are coming together and are going to be the deciders in putting forth proposals that we hope Republicans and Democrats, at the conventions and beyond, will authentically listen to and respond to," says Coleridge.
The convention takes place today and Saturday (July 15-16) at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, and on Sunday, July 17, at the Masonic Auditorium. A policy platform will be developed to be presented to both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Community activist Genevieve Mitchell says the hope is to include seldom-heard voices and propose policies that are inclusive, nurturing and nonviolent.
"The issues are too important to deal with the distraction of violence," Mitchell insists. "So, we want people to be safe, we want their voices to be heard. We want this to be an effective campaign."
Coleridge notes there's been an uptick in interest in the past week, and says the convention will try to accommodate as many people as possible.
"We are getting much more interest from people who want to participate, and want to have a voice in the shaping of decisions that affect their lives, their communities and their nation," he adds.
More than a dozen diverse organizations will be convening for the convention, including Black-on-Black Crime, the Cleveland Human and Civil Rights Coalition, Northeast Ohio Industrial Workers of the World and the Ohio Sierra Club.