For additional articles about unemployment and 99er efforts to secure jobs and extended unemployment benefits, please visit Rochester Unemployment Examiner.

Many 99ers have written me and commented that 99ers weren’t mentioned directly during the One Nation Working Together rally this past weekend. While unemployment and jobs were a big part of the rally, 99ers were not mentioned by Ed Schultz or any of the other speakers. That is certainly disappointing, but it’s important to realize that this rally contained hundreds of groups and organizations and that mentioning them all would have taken the better part of the four-hour rally. Also, this rally was designed to offer a message not to discuss specific groups or legislation.

I spoke to 99er rally organizer and advocate Kian Fredrick about the 99er presence at the rally and she offered the following:

  • The whole rally was to bring many different groups together that often disagree with each other. Not that anyone at the rally does not support 99ers, but all the speakers were asked to keep their comments as general as possible. I know many anti-war groups were just as upset that withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan was not mentioned specifically. Before the rally, I was hoping Ed would say something, but at the rally, I realized he was invited to be more of an Emcee for the opening part of the rally. In this role it would not have been appropriate for him to mention a specific group or legislation, no matter how dedicated he is to the 99er cause – and, of course, he is.
  • The people we want to give us material support were very impressed that the 99ers were at the rally. I was at the AFL office the next day, and as I was introduced to folks and saw others that I knew, nearly everyone said “ WOW, the 99ers made it to the rally!”. This is important because we want these people to help us reach even more people, like their over 11 million members!!
  • I was also surprised at how many people around us at the rally knew what a 99er was. With the bus being so late, it became very difficult to save space at the front where I had “planted our flag” at 6:30 on Sat morning. As people crowded in, I mentioned to those around us that, soon, a larger group would be coming, and our intent is not to be rude or “push to the front”. I asked folks if they knew what a 99er was, and told them that’s who we were. About 80% knew exactly what a 99er is, and some of them moved away to create space right then; I swear, I was brought to tears. When the larger group did arrive, the 99ers were asked to just sort of “melt in” because these other folks were “there first”. Let me tell you – just about every single person moved away to create space for the 99ers! It was really respectful, gracious and a very moving gesture. Just a small, little thing that shows there is much love and support for 99ers, especially among the folks at this rally. Small steps, too little too late, but important, none-the-less.
  • I tried very, very hard to get a 99er speaking spot. I respect that it is difficult to understand – “But if they really support us, what’s the problem”, however the number of groups vying for a spot went into the thousands. Also, we were a little late in requesting a spot; 99ers didn’t really focus on this until the last few weeks, which didn’t really give me time to “crawl up the food chain”, if you will. No 99er should read anything more into it that that; I’ve done so many of these big events, and I can’t tell you what a blur even the most worthy causes become in the last few weeks of planning. It’s just the nature of the beast.
  • I share the disappointment with not having a 99er speaker, but, in reality, there were so many speakers in a four hour rally, that they all droned on together. Being mentioned at the rally is, practically speaking, less important than the press we had lined up: CNN, Washington Post, and others. Simple, but frustrating: our bus was delayed in all the traffic, so we missed their news deadline. Sometimes this happens, so we just have to figure out a way to do better next time.
  • Hopefully, we will have even more 99ers sign up for the 10/30 rally. Early sign up gives me credibility when I push the 99er cause with the organizers of these events (Please remember – HuffPost, like One Nation, does not share info with me; if you’re not signed up with the 99er group, I have No Way to know you are there). We also have the FlashMobs4Jobs video coming out tomorrow, so hopefully everyone will help that go viral. For more information about the 10-30 rally, see my post:

As you can see, the 99er cause was well represented and supported. The hard work of Kian Fredrick, Sam Talbot (who also attended the rally) and others to raise the 99er banner at this rally is highly commendable. All of those efforts for 99ers are volunteer efforts. People aren’t getting paid to do this time consuming and logistically challenging advocacy work, which makes this successful effort even more remarkable.

Edrie Irvine’s unemployment speech at the One Nation rally

Another friend of the unemployed and 99ers is Edrie Irvine. Edrie was a volunteer for the One Nation rally and I communicated Edrie prior to the rally about a possible 99er speaker at the rally. Edrie told me that she would be speaking for the unemployed at the pre-rally and that she would be glad to talk about a couple of 99ers who sent me their information and wanted to be at the rally in spirit. Edrie did just that and while 99ers weren’t mentioned specifically, she told the stories of two 99erswho are suffering the pains of long-term unemployment.

Edrie speaks for most unemployed when she states, “We, the unemployed, are jobless through no fault of our own.” As well as “Help me, and all the others like me, send a message to all those politicians that use us as a token in their political battles, who scapegoat us, who say we have to pee in a cup. Well I’ll tell you Mr. Hatch (Sen. Orin Hatch R-UT), I’ll pee right after you do. They talk down to us, they call us names, or they blame us; they do it at their own peril. We vote, we’ll get out the vote, and we’ll bite back.” 
Thanks to Edrie for all her hard work at the rally for the unemployed. What follows is the video of Edrie’s forceful, spot-on speech:

President Obama rally in Philadelphia, PA on October 8

Finally, the Unemployed Workers Action Group sent me note that President Obama is holding a rally in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, October 8. UWAG is hoping that some 99ers in the area can sign up and bring their questions to the President. Here are the details:

We need to get a contingent of 99ers there asking him politely:

“Why have you abandoned 4-5 million 99ers who have no income and can’t get a job in this national emergency of job shortages?”

Take Action To Create Change!
Creating One Voice for 15 Million Unemployed Workers – One Member At A Time
Rally with President Obama and special musical guest The Roots
Sunday, October 10th
Robert Fulton Elementary School 
(in the park next to the school)
60 E. Haines Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Doors Open at 3:00 p.m.
Program Begins at 4:00 p.m.
Use the following link to see the rally details and to sign up:

FDR Memorial

I had the privilege of visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial when I visited Washington D.C. for the One Nation rally. I have always been a fan of FDR and I believe he was one of America’s best presidents considering he brought the country through the Great Depression and most of WWII. He was a man of great wealth, but he seemed to not lose sight of the suffering masses of the Great Depression.  Since much of my work of late is with the unemployed, it struck me how FDR understood that millions of Americans were suffering mightily from unemployment’s financial handships and he was able to communicate that to the people. What follows is one of FDR’s statements that put the latest wealthy tax break argument in perfect perspective:

FDR Memorial

I only wish that today’s politicians would communicate as effectively and honestly as FDR did during America’s darkest hours. What I hear today is the green shoots, jobless recovery, and tax breaks for the wealthy create jobs spiel that is nothing more than special interest rhetoric that leads to confusion and distrust of elected officials. Maybe today’s America can’t handle the truth, but if they heard it more often, they may be able to better grasp its importance.

For additional articles about unemployment and 99er efforts to secure jobs and extended unemployment benefits, please visit Rochester Unemployment Examiner.

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