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Hot sunny weather, hard pavements, and achy feet did nothing to stop 600 Texans from marching in Austin to tell Rick Perry, “We’re not going under!” and despite the grim business of having to be around Governor Perry, the mood of the rally Texans was strong, jubilant, and exciting. Over 4 full buses, and 3 vans from the Houston and Pasadena area joined hundreds of other Texans from Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin for the “Under the Bus” Rally.
In a peaceful demonstration of democracy these Texans, young, old, able bodied and disabled, entered the Texas Capitol in Austin where signs declaring “Keep your hand off my Medicaid!” and “Perry: 2 Million People Get Insured! How can you say No?!”, and filled the high, marble walls with their voices in song and chants.
Even capital tourists, who were unaware of Perry’s actions, joined in in support and signed a petition, filed along with the over 4,000 people after hearing what we had to say. After demanding to have an audience with Rick Perry, to present their case, the protesters were informed that Rick Perry had left early and was at the AT&T Conference Building to give a speech to the The Texas Tribune convention.
A mile long march took place to meet up with Perry, stopping briefly to listen soulful, passionate music and to get to know fellow Texans from other cities. Passers-by, clapped, yelled, and honked in support as the march proceeded. At the arrival to the Texas Tribune convention, protesters began to sing parodying nursery rhymes and even, “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.
Despite the hundreds that marched to his door and then again to the convention, Rick Perry refused to meet anyone who would be affected by the decision that day.
The events leading up to the rally in the Texas Capitol began when Perry declared last July that he was willing to leave over 2 million Texans without health insurance. A decision stunning to the already 6 million Texans who are without any insurance at all and to the dismay of the medical community, as this decision would cost virtually nothing to the state and not accepting it does nothing to alleviate Texas from being in last place in health care coverage with an average of 1 in 4 Texans struggling with a decision to buy medicine, bills, or food, the majority being the working class.
Everyday, millions of Texans hope that they do not get sick. They borrow money, hope no one notices, and ignore their own pain because they cannot afford to see a doctor. Nearly 60% of U.S. bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Without insurance, individuals with life threatening illness like cancer, or heart disease have no way of paying for the astronomical cost of care and often lose their jobs, their homes, and entire life savings.
So what does Governor Rick Perry do, when we finally have a way to get our loved ones the help they need?
He says, “No.”
WHEN: FRIDAY SEPTEMBER, 21, 2012 4pm
WHERE: CAPITOL BUILDING; AUSTIN, TEXAS
WHAT: RALLY TO TELL RICK PERRY WORKING TEXANS DEMAND HEALTH CARE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 30, 2012
HUNDREDS OF HOUSTONIANS JOIN NATIONWIDE CALL TO REJECT ROMNEY ECONOMY
Voters Demand an Economy That Works for the 99%, With Rally at the Harris County GOP Office “We don’t want a Romney Economy!”
HOUSTON, TX – A diverse group of Houstonians joined a protest against a Romney Economy on Thursday, as the former governor accepted the GOP nomination. Across the country, the 99% – low wage workers, seniors, community activists, students, and faith leaders – roundly rejected the 1%-focused Romney Economy in favor of an economy that works for all of us.
Protesters assembled at the Harris County GOP office by the dozens, toting signs and chanting loudly with a clear message for Mitt Romney: don’t privatize healthcare, stop outsourcing jobs, stop tax breaks for the rich coupled with take hikes for the middle class, and stop cuts to education and healthcare funding. Half the group then went inside the lobby and upstairs to the GOP Office chanting. The other group assembled outside along the front of the building getting support from passersby. After about an hour of chanting, community people began speaking out about the reasons they do not support a Romney Economy.
“A Romney Economy won’t work for me because my grandmother needs access to healthcare. I know there are 1.2 million Texans that want a system where everyone has access to health care not just the rich.” said Chandler Godine, an out of work Texan who recently returned home from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL.
Texas is home to millions of workers, who must struggle to provide for their families while the rich enjoy tax breaks and loopholes. Parents who have to make the heartbreaking choice between buying groceries or taking a sick child to the doctor know that a Romney Economy will not work for Houston.
Nationwide, members of the 99% rejected a Romney Economy, welcoming home protesters from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. These voters want: an increase to the federal minimum wage, an end to tax breaks for the rich and corporations, a renewed focus on creating good American jobs instead of layoffs and outsourcing for profit, and a Congress committed to representing all Americans, not just the 1%.
Today we witnessed the true meaning of solidarity. Houston janitors, TOP members and elected officials joined together to speak out about the fight for a fair wage. Houston Mayor Annise Parker spoke about the rights of all workers in our city. She made it clear that she believes that people should be paid accordingly for their handwork. Council member Ed Gonzalez also spoke in support of Houston janitors closing his remarks with “Si Sisepuede!” Si Sisepuede!
The year 2008 was a sad time for many Americans, aside from a VP hopeful claiming to be able to see Russia from her house, many American families faced severe financial constraints. Companies cuts thousands of jobs, and “bail out” became a buzzword on the lips of many profitable CEOs. By the end of the year, the American people were promised “change” and CEOs like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon took the lead in resurrecting the American financial system; beseeching Americans to put our trust back in the financial system.
Just days ago, Jamie Dimon who earned $23 million in 2011, recently lost $2 billion in a very risk trade. That money could have been put into communities to fund public schools or create infrastructure. To make matters worse, analysts are predicting an additional $1 billion loss in the days to come while Dimon’s solution is to move forward. The American people should not be surprised at his reaction to this fiasco. But what really matters is enacting change, and that change starts with the resignation of Jamie Dimon.
Today, we marched to the Chase Tower to make sure every ear heard our demands: “We want CEO Dimon out!” We delivered a giant letter requesting his resignation signed by The 99%. Some of us even dressed like vampires…why you ask? To show how CEOs like Dimon suck the blood out of the economy when he allows JPMorgan executives to gamble with money in the sum of billions of dollars. It doesn’t just hurt Chase and its account holders or the CALPers pension system, that blunder hurts the ENTIRE economy. We need to move America forward not back to 2008.
Mistakes like this are what lead to previous financial meltdowns. An attempt to correct egregious errors are what sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement. In Houston we will take action to make sure America’s most profitable companies do the right thing for our country. Companies like JPMorgan simply need to know that Houstonians are not going to continue to pay for their costly mistakes. We want his resignation! We can use his million dollar salary to rebuild our communities. That’s the change we want to see!
The stage was set and attendees were buzzing with excitement as the lights dimmed and the actors took the stage. From May 3rd through the 5th, the office space here at Good Jobs=Great Houston transformed into a theater hall, showcasing the five short plays about living in America presented by Look-Out Arts Collective and Occupy Wall St: Houston.
With a simple stage in place and minimal props, the five well written and directed short plays lit up the evening with its energy and intellectual fervor. These young actors, writers and directors made their message clear; power creates poverty and poverty creates power. Calling into question oppression, the ills of extremism, censorship and abuse where just a few of the themes each of the plays took into consideration. Though it might seem like a gloom and doom evening. The level of humor and sadness was well balanced from the opening act to the last.
With a packed house during its three day run the show was a great success. In fact, the audience was so engaged that many of them didn’t even mind staying late to be part of the scheduled talkbacks.
We want to give a big thanks to all the actors, Caleb Travis and Matthew Padora from Lookout Arts Collective, and all the folks who came by the office to watch the show.
In a show of Solidarity, Good Jobs=Great Houston joined Houston janitors (SEIU Local 1 members) as they loudly marched and declared the need for good jobs! May Day marked the third action janitors have held since kicking off their contract convention on April 14th and beginning negotiations on April 24th. Their goal is to win a strong contract that will: raise wages, improve healthcare benefits and give them respect on the job. Houston is a rich city. And the janitors who work hard to keep our buildings clean continue to only make a little over $8 dollars an hour. About $9,000 dollars a year total.
Can you imagine how tough living on poverty wages must be?
What they are fighting for is what we are all fighting for. The problems Houston Janitors face affect all Houstonians who struggle to make a living; while the city’s 1% continues to fill their pockets rather than creating jobs.
This is why over 3,200 janitors and their community allies will keep taking the fight to the streets of downtown Houston.
We will not stop until Houston’s janitors claim victory!
Spring is in the air right here in Houston and the 99% has been counting down the days to take action and kick things off in the right direction. Across the nation union members, community activists, occupiers and people from all other walks of life came together to begin the 99% Spring Training. Spring has been a long time coming. Back in February leaders from across the country signed a letter and launched the program to put power back in the hands of the people.
Yesterday, over at the Good Jobs Great Houston office, around 5pm, folks representing over 14 different organizations came together for our direct action training. Kicking off the evening with a nice spaghetti dinner, the program began with a quick introduction video outlining the key points of the evening’s training.
The focus of this training was rooted in helping individuals build the community, focus and skills needed to launch spring actions everywhere in an effort to create a democracy for and by the people…like our forefathers intended.
As the first exercises began, participants took five minutes to write out their personal stories. When asked to share, folks came out saying they were here because of education cuts taking place; they had lost their vision of the American Dream, which they had had while growing up, and because the 1% needed to pay their fair share. Everyone seemed to realize that they were all sharing the same fears, concerns and challenges; that as being part of the 99% they were not as alone as they thought.
With a 20 minute video presentation-telling the history of non-violent direct action-following the storytelling, folks were excited and ready to hit the ground running! The crowd was split into three groups and began practicing sample action scenarios. Everyone was active and involved in the role-playing and it was seen as the evening came to a close and chosen spokespeople let the room know about what they had learned and how they set up their own “actions” during the group exercises.
As activists left ready to begin their spring, one participant when asked about his reaction to the training, stated with a smile on his face, “This is what (us) little people need, a way to get our voices heard.”
*If you’re interested in learning more about the 99% Spring training. You can download a copy of the training manual here, Special thanks to the “99% Spring website. www.the99spring.com.
It was a lunch time surprise over at Sen. John Cornyn’s office today. Good Jobs=Great Houston, jokingly represented the 1% as big oil lobbyist. The 1% “posers” went bearing gifts, urging the Texan senator to do the right thing and continue to support “Big Oil” subsidies. We knew that he would support “Big Oil” because “Big Oil” has helped fund many Republican campaigns. Going waaaay back to 2010, big oil and its top executives managed to put in their pockets a total of $73 million dollars; paid out to them by the 99%, in the form of tax breaks and subsidies. Meanwhile, it’s been a tough few years for working families here in Texas, who still continue to tighten their belts as our jobs get shipped overseas and corporations keep getting millions in the form of tax breaks.
With our 1% suit jackets on and our trays of “dirty” money, we marched straight up to the door ready to deliver our message, “Big Oil needs more Tax Subsidies.”
Dear Sen. Cornyn
We, the 1% of oil lobbyists want to say thank you by leaving you this gift of oil and money in the hope that you will do the right thing and vote for more big oil subsidies.
For good measure, we left his office hallway adorned with signs reminding him of the support we expect for the 1% . We the 99% won’t forget that every “Yes” vote he gives will support only the wealthiest 1% (big oil and their well funded lobbyists) while ignoring the 99% of Americans paying out for all that oily money.
This week Congress will vote to end giveaways to big oil, proposed by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) which would stop the wasteful subsidies. As Republicans continue to rant and rave that we can’t afford public education, child care services or alternative forms of energy; they continue to support their friends in the oil business by handing out cash anytime they can. Enough is enough!
As quoted by Sen. Menendez, sponsor of the bill, “At a time when families are feeling the pain at the pump and our deficit keeps growing at an alarming rate, we simply can’t afford to keep giving away billions in taxpayer handouts to oil companies that are doing nothing to help lower prices. The ‘Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act’ is based on a simple premise: we need everyone to do their share to lower the deficit, not just working families and the elderly,”
March 22, 2012: Verizon Day of Action
Al Neal, Member TNG-CWA Local 39521
It was a sea of red and white as the Good Jobs=Great Houston Coalition today joined CWA members from Locals 6222 and 6186 outside a Verizon wireless store in downtown Houston to Protest: job cuts, outsourcing and union busting!
Verizon, while still in contract negotiations with CWA back east (trying to cut pay, job security, and benefits for current and retired members) has decided that it would be a great move to close its Houston based call center. This would destroy a thousand good middle class jobs and hurting Houston’s struggling economy as reported by the Houston Business Journal.
Lining the sidewalk, activists marched up and down waving signs for drivers to see and chanted loudly, “Save Jobs for America, Stop outsourcing!”, “Jobs not Cuts!” and While out on the road, drivers showed their support by honking their horns and waving out their windows.