Under gray skies, over 350 people gathered along Broadway yesterday in downtown San Diego at a Labor Day “Rally for the Jobless.” Organized by MoveOn and Rebuild the American Dream, the noon event was designed to gather unemployed San Diegans and put pressure on the White House and Congress for jobs.
Waving signs, banners and flags the demonstrators dominated that block of downtown for a couple of hours, with chants, horns honking in support, and then with a rally where many local politicians spoke. “Jobs – not cuts!” was a familiar refrain from the crowd.
The gathering was energized when a sea of yellow-shirts worn by grocery workers and their supporters marched into the crowd, chanting “We want a contract, and we want it now!” Lorena Gonzalez – the head of the Labor Council – yelled out to organizers as she appeared in the midst of the marchers, “I brought a few of my friends along!”
Congressional reps Bob Filner and Susan Davis spoke, as did State Senator Juan Vargas, along with Lori Saldana who is running against Brian Bilbray in newly-drawn Congressional district. Gonzalez also addressed the crowd, as did Floyd Morrow, a former City Councilman, Gregg Robinson, Grossmont College professor and vice-president of his AFT local, Jeeni Criscenzo del Rio, head of Activist San Diego, and Frank Gormlie, the MoveOn coordinator.
One of Gormlie’s refrains was: “We’re not here to celebrate Labor Day – we’re here to agitate!”
When Filner grabbed the bullhorn, he exhorted the crowd to join him to turn the city around. “There’s no reason,” the mayoral candidate declared, “that San Diego can’t have its own jobs program!” The crowd roared its approval.
Speaker after speaker, Lorena Gonzalez, Susan Davis, Gregg Robinson, Floyd Morrow – all spoke of how San Diegans need to join together, form a movement to change the City’s narrative, to make labor a partner in the changes, to fix our broken infrastructure, to press for good green jobs.
Below is a gallery of photos from the rally – taken by different photographers: Patty Jones, Shelly Plumb, Byron Morton and Vince Compagne. (Click on the images for a larger version.)