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Grassroots Leaders Link Conventions, Protests

Caravan members participated in the Wall Off Trump protest in Cleveland. (Grassroots Global Justice)
Caravan members participated in the Wall Off Trump protest in Cleveland. (Grassroots Global Justice)
July 21, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – Grassroots organizers from across the country are taking their pledge of resistance from this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

They're calling it the It Takes Roots to Change the System: The People’s Caravan.

There are 50 Latino, black, Asian, Muslim and working class white organizers in the caravan, working on issues that include environmental justice, immigration and police accountability.

According to Timmy Lu, state-organizing director for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, the caravan is traveling by bus from Cleveland to Philadelphia.

"To draw attention to these communities and what's happening at the local level, and then also make a statement against the racism and misogyny that we're seeing coming from the Republican National Convention," he explains.

Also joining the caravan are two representatives from Honduras, including the daughter of slain environmental leader Berta Caceres.

Lu says the caravan is using art and other visual displays to support voter turnout efforts in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and political actions at both party conventions.

"This election isn't just about selecting one candidate or another, but really about building the infrastructure that we need over the long term to win on key issues that our communities care about like the environment, immigration and racial justice," he points out.

In Philadelphia, the caravan will be supporting actions around immigration detentions and deportations, and challenging the expansion of a toxic oil refinery near poor communities of color.

And Lu adds that the caravan also will stop in Pittsburgh and Baltimore to work with economic and racial justice groups.

"And that's really what I feel is the coalition that we're trying to build that needs to win at the grassroots level, but is also necessary to win at the electoral level as well," he states.

The caravan is being convened by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, based in North Miami, Fla.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY