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News ::
Massachusetts Supports the “Charleston Five”
31 May 2001
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice sponsored a fundraising tour to support the “Charleston Five” -- South Carolina longshoremen who face felony charges for defending their union. The tour on May 29 and 30 featured Ken Riley, president of Longshoremen’s Local 1422.
The major event for Brother Riley was an evening solidarity rally held at the Hotel Workers Union, Local 26. The rally was endorsed by ten labor and community organizations and attended by about 80 people. In addition to Riley, other speakers included Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner, Bill McNamera, area VP for the ILA, and Brian Lang, organizing director of Local 26. An inspirational song was performed by Gary Hicks. About $2,000 was raised at the rally.

A second event was held in New Bedford at the Cape Verdean Veterans Hall on Wednesday, May 30. It was attended by ILA members from New Bedford and Providence, members from UNITE, NALC, AFT, AFSCME, and other unions, as well as members of the Coalition for Social Justice. About 30 people attended the meeting and $450 was raised for the defense fund. An additional $100 was donated by the New Bedford CLC. The event was covered in the local newspaper and on the local cable TV news.

Brother Riley met with Harvard University students who participated in the sit-in that resulted in a major “Living Wage” victory. Later that evening he attended a small fundraising party in Cambridge attended by a number of academics and foundation staff. About $1,100 was raised at the party. While he was in Boston, Riley was interviewed by the Boston Globe and WMBR.

In addition to financial contributions, Ken Riley asked organizations to pass resolutions in support of the Charleston Five and for people to send letters of protest to the Attorney General of South Carolina. Finally, he asked that everyone respect the boycott of South Carolina until the state drops the charges against the Charleston Five and abandons its support for the Confederate War flag. (Exceptions are gladly made if you would like to attend the June 9 solidarity rally in Columbia or visit the ILA union hall in Charleston.)

Financial contributions should be made payable to the “Dock Workers Defense Fund” and sent to: Campaign for Workers’ Rights, P.O. Box 21777, Charleston, SC 29413

Letters (or phone calls) protesting the prosecution of the Charleston Five should be sent to:
Attorney General Charles Condon, P.O. Box 11549, Columbia, SC 29211
Fax: 803-734-4323, Phone: 803-734-3970

Copies of all letters and resolutions should be sent to: Jobs with Justice Solidarity Committee, 3353 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. Sample resolutions in support of the Charleston Five and model letters to the Attorney General can be obtained from Rand Wilson by calling (617) 442-4100 ext. 201 or email to rwilson (at) local285.com.

Two helpful web sites are Massachusetts Jobs with Justice: http://www.massjwj.org/ and The South Carolina Progressive Network: http://www.scpronet.com/
See also:
www.jwj.org
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