(APN) ATLANTA About 3,000 peace activists from throughout the US South gathered on Saturday, April 1, in Atlanta, and marched from downtown's The King Center to midtown's Piedmont Park for the causes of peace and justice.
The Southern Regional March for Peace and Justice met at Piedmont Park and culminated in speeches, poetry, and song.
"We cannot remain silent while the nation we love is transformed from protector to predator," Reverend Joseph Lowery, said, speaking as a voice of American conscience.
"Haliburton is profiteering from the death of the best and brightest of our youth," Kathy Pearson, part of an Alabama coalition of protesters, explained as the reason for her presence.
Bill Wiggins, a Vietnam Veteran, said he was appalled at the shoddy treatment our troops were receiving at Veterans Affairs hospitals.
Led by civil rights icon, Rev. Joseph Lowery, the large crowd cheered and chanted during the two-mile route, "This is what Democracy looks like " and "No Justice, No Peace!"
The crowd was notably diverse, and via the protest route, crowd members had an opportunity to let residents of various downtown poor neighborhoods know that there is a large movement against poverty, as the parade passed in front of their homes.
Marchers had come from all over the Southeast, some as far away as Orlando, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana, and others from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, to make their voices heard against the war in Iraq and for domestic programs such as healthcare, education and voting rights.
Denise Thomas, Wendy Chambers, and Jan May were part of a group representing Military Families Speak Out. The women all had immediate family members who had served in Iraq and were there to support our troops by asking that President Bush bring them home now.
Atlanta Progressive News had a staff and vendor contingent at the rally, where the news service unveiled the first issue of its brand new print publication. Atlanta Progressive News is empowering homeless vendors to sell the print edition in public places.
Under the slogan "A better world is possible," the March for Peace and Justice was sponsored by a coalition of more that 150 religious, civic, student, and labor organizations. They demanded a just peace in Iraq, civil and human rights for all, and for the Bush administration to put people before profits.
April 1st was chosen as an appropriate date seeing as how it fell between the third anniversary of the war (March 20th) and the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4th). The sunny and breezy weather was perfect for the full afternoon's itinerary.
The parade of thousands had passed in front of a cheerleading squad, a drumming ensemble, and hundreds of drivers honking their horns and spectators waving in support.