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From Maine to California, nurses, students, HIV/AIDS and community activists, took to the streets today calling on Congress to fulfill the quest of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for economic justice by enacting a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund efforts to reverse inequality.

 "The Inclusive Prosperity Act would make Dr. King proud," said Rep. Keith Ellison at a kick off press conference in Washington against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol.

HR 1579 author Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rev. Rodney Sadler, a leader of the No. Carolina Moral Monday movement, and Bill Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists who was with Dr. King in Memphis in April, 1968, joined with National Nurses United at a press conference outside the U. S. Capitol to urge passage of a Robin Hood Tax. Washington DC April 4, 2014  Â© Rick Reinhard 2014   email  rick@rickreinhard.com
National Nurses United Vice President Sandy Falwell, RN

HR 1579 author Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rev. Rodney Sadler, a leader of the No. Carolina Moral Monday movement, and Bill Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists who was with Dr. King in Memphis in April, 1968, joined with National Nurses United at a press conference outside the U. S. Capitol to urge passage of a Robin Hood Tax. Washington DC April 4, 2014  Â© Rick Reinhard 2014   email  rick@rickreinhard.com
Rep. Keith Ellison, author of HR 1579

"This is a holy day, a sacred day," Ellison continued. April 4 is a day America remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It was on this day 46 years ago that he was assassinated, slain while in Memphis to provide support to city sanitation workers as part of a campaign for worker justice and to fight poverty.  

And on this day in 2014 Rep. Ellison spoke of the Robin Hood Tax, embodied in his bill, H.R. 1579, a sales tax on Wall Street speculative trading that would create hundreds of billions of dollars a year in revenue for communities in need, a way to attain the economic equality Dr. King was seeking.

Big gathering in Chicago for the Robin Hood tax for economic justice

Vigils to honor Dr. King’s legacy, and call for enactment of HR 1579 were also held at Congressional offices in 24 cities from coast to coast, and letters of support delivered to Congress members at 44 other offices this day as well.

In Washington, Bill Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, who was with King in April, 1968, stood today outside the Capitol with Ellison remembering King and calling for passage of the Ellison Bill.  

"The Inclusive Prosperity Act really is a vehicle to continue the work of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Lucy.  "The sanitation workers of Memphis wanted decency and dignity," he remembered.   "Keith Ellison wants economic fairness.  I applaud him."

"The originators of the idea for the tax are nurses," said Ellison, introducing Sandy Falwell, RN, a national vice president of National Nurses United.  

“Registered nurses are on the front lines of this calamity as many of the patients we care for in hospitals around the country are coming to us with multiple illnesses aggravated by poverty and a delay in seeking care because they simply cannot afford it. They have to choose to eat or get health care,” said Falwell. “Too many people in this country are forced to choose whether to take medications or try to pay their rent, and in a country such as ours with such tremendous wealth, this is unconscionable.”

"America is our patient," declared Falwell.  "The Inclusive Prosperity Act is a vital step to funding programs Dr. King stood for."

'Heal Detroit' say nurses in Detroit

Falwell and others talked of jobs to rebuild a crumbling infrastructure, quality schools and healthcare, retirement with dignity, funds for a clean environment, all goals of the H.R. 1579.  

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Nurses, activists call on Rep. George Miller, Concord, Ca to support the Robin Hood tax

"We will push this forward.  The Robin Hood Tax is real hope for a just economy," added Rep. Barbara Lee, a co-sponsor of HR 1579 who was also present outside the Capitol to remember Dr. King this day.  "The American dream," she warned, "is turning into an American nightmare."

In recent weeks, investigations of high speed trading on financial markets have underscored the negative effects these trades have on the U.S. economy.  The Wall Street Journal reported in March that high speed trading programs "can encourage traders to engage in strategies that boost volumes but harm other investors."  

High speed trades are also linked to price rises in gas, food and other essentials.   H.R. 1579, say economists, will serve to diminish this harmful trading.   That was echoed at today's press conference.  Said Ellison, "H.R. 1579 will make super fast trades unprofitable."
 

Rev. Rodney Sadler, Moral Mondays leader

Reverend Rodney Sadler was present, as well.  A leader of the "Moral Mondays" in North Carolina, he spoke of the struggle for justice in that state.   "Will we allow the poor to be overlooked, forgotten and invisible?" asked Sadler.  "Prosperity is something that should be inclusive.  The Inclusive Prosperity Act will go a long way to meet needs in housing, employment, education, for veterans and for the elderly."

New York City activists call for Robin Hood tax

Amanda Lugg came to the event from Harlem where she is director of advocacy for the African Services Committee.  She is also a board member of Health GAP.    H.R. 1579 is committed to raising U.S. contributions to international efforts to research and treat HIV/AIDS.  "We can end the AIDS epidemic in 30 years," said Lugg.  "Half the people who need AIDS medicine go without.  That ain't right."

Boston vigil

"The Robin Hood Tax," Lugg said, "can save lives and restore human dignity."   She reminded the press conference that, for 11 nations in Europe, next month is the start date for their Robin Hood Tax.  

San Antonio Texas group calls on office of Rep. Lloyd Doggett

The time to join in is now.  To learn more, visit our website.

In Los Angeles, at office of Rep. Xavier Bercerra
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    National Nurses United, (AFL-CIO): the new RN "super-union" representing 150,000 nurses from all 50 states!

    by National Nurses Movement on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 01:19:48 PM PDT

  •  It's the right idea at the right time (6+ / 0-)

    This is only part of a growing international movement to put a tiny tax on the massive amount of money that moves through the financial system - often in ways that are to the detriment of the rest of us.  The most interesting and telling part of the debate is how furiously the mainstream Dems and the administration are trying to bury the idea - remarkably reminiscent of their response to single-payer health care.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 01:39:59 PM PDT

  •  On this anniversery of Dr. King's death, Indpls (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, RN4MERCY, Mannie, pkilkus

    TV station is featuring Bobby Kennedy's speech which he gave on that evening of the assignation on it's website. Go to WTHR.com and find in today's news.

    On the evening Martin Luther King was killed, Robert Kennedy was in Indianapolis to make a fund-raising speech at a big, fancy $100+ a plate dinner, but quickly left that dinner and went into the darkest inner-city neighborhood to make an impromptu speech from the back of a flatbed truck which is one of his best speeches ever.  In the speech he makes reference to the shooting of his brother, JFK, which in one of the few time he spoke of this in public.  While many cities rioted at the news of Dr. King's death, Indianapolis responded peacefullyl, under Bobby's Kennedy's leadership.

    Still, in the inner city there are memorials of this speech.  The city park at 17th and Delaware has a statue of both men reaching out to one another and the speech is played on special occasions on the speaker system.

    There is a McDonald's restaurant and 38th and Meridian which is called FAITH McDonald's which features full wall memorials of Kennedy on the night of the speech along with a mural of Dr. King.

  •  "This will be the day... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Mannie, pkilkus

    when we shall bring into full realization the dream of American democracy--a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few;..."
    Dr. King spoke those words in 1961!

    Thank you, Keith Ellison and the nurses. The Inclusive Prosperity Act is fitting legislation that honor's Dr. King's memory; and, the revenue is needed to help keep the dream alive--equality of opportunity!

  •  This tax is a great idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkilkus

    It helps move the tax burden off the middle class and onto the upper 1 percent.  It would help curtail computer driven trading that was complicit in recent recessions.  It is consistent with Adam Smith's concept of taxation on FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) and not on labor.  Of course it has no chance of passing in today's Congress, but let's elect a better Congress and get this done.

    'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own. - Alexander Pope

    by liberaldad2 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:38:57 AM PDT

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