Things Should Never Have Reached This Point

02/16/2012 07:35 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2012
  • George Goehl Executive Director, National People’s Action and National People's Action Campaign

Every day, the American Dream seems a little farther away.

More of our grandparents are being thrown from their homes. Our mothers and fathers can't retire because their pension funds tanked. Our brothers and sisters are burdened by student loan debt. For our children, budget cuts have resulted in crumbling schools, skyrocketing class sizes, and teachers being denied the support they need to do their best. Our friends and family are being denied collective bargaining rights in their workplaces and are falling further and further behind. Our neighbors are being poisoned by pollution in our air and water.

The numbers are staggering: in recent years, millions of jobs have been destroyed,homes foreclosed, and an unconscionable number of children live in poverty.

And worst of all: this is no accident. It is a result of rampant greed -- the deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%, by those who amass ever more wealth and power at our expense.

We are at a crossroads as a country. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The choice is in our hands. This spring, we will act on that choice and rise up in the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers. We will not be complicit with the suffering in our families for another year.We will prepare ourselves for sustained nonviolent direct action in the spirit of Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, and many others.

From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country.

We will organize trainings to:

  1. Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who's responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it,
  2. Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
  3. Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.

This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.

We know great change is possible. We inherit a history of everyday people standing up for their own dignity, freedom, and self-determination, shaping our direction as a country. The seamstress in Alabama who launched a bus boycott. The farmers in New England and Virginia who imagined we could be a free nation. The workers in Flint, Michigan who occupied their plant to win collective bargaining rights. The farmworkers in California who liberated our fields. The women in New York who dreamed they could one day speak with equal voice. The mother who stood up in Love Canal to stop the poisoning of her community. And the students who risked their lives during Freedom Summer to register voters.

In the last year alone we watched the teachers and fire fighters of Wisconsin stand for the rights of workers. And we joined those who Occupied Wall Street, inspiring us to stand with the 99%.

We will rise this spring, because we DO hold these truths to be self evident--that all men and women are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Will you rise with us? Can we count on you to join us April 9th to 15th to stand with the 99% for America?

For more information, visit and follow the hashtag #99spring on Twitter

In Solidarity,

Jobs With Justice, Sarita Gupta
United Auto Workers, Bob King
National Peoples Action, George Goehl
National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo, Justin Ruben
New Organizing Institute, Joy Cushman & Judith Freeman
Movement Strategy Center, Liz Butler
The Other 98%, John Sellers
Service Employees International Union, Mary Kay Henry
Rebuild the Dream, Van Jones and Natalie Foster
Color of Change, Rashad Robinson
UNITE-HERE, John Wilhelm
Greenpeace, Phil Radford
Institute for Policy Studies, John Cavanagh
PICO National Network, Scott Reed
New Bottom Line, Tracy Van Slyke and Ilana Berger
United Steel Workers, Leo Gerard
Working Families Party, Daniel Cantor
Communications Workers of America, Larry Cohen
United States Student Association, Victor Sanchez Jr.
National Education Association, John C. Stocks
Rainforest Action Network, Becky Tarbotton
American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten
Leadership Center for the Common Good, Brian Kettenring
UNITY, Randy Jackson
National Guestworker Alliance, SaketSoni, Bill McKibben and May Boeve
The Ruckus Society, Sharon Lungo and Megan Swoboda
Citizen Engagement Lab, James Rucker and Ian Inaba
smartMeme Strategy & Training Project, Patrick Reinsborough, Doyle Canning
Right to the City Alliance, Rachel LaForest
Pushback Network, Brigid Flaherty
Progressive Democrats of America, Tim Carpenter
Change to Win, Bob Callahan
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Michael Leon Guerrero
Campaign for America's Future, Roger Hickey
Fuse Washington, Aaron Ostrom
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Jeff Ordower
Citizen Action of New York, Karen Scharff
Engage, Marianne Manilov
United Electrical Workers Union, Bruce Klipple
National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Pablo Alvarado
Alliance for a Just Society, LeeAnn Hall
The Partnership for Working Families, Leslie Moody
United Students Against Sweatshops, Teresa Cheng