For Immediate Release. Sept. 20, 2011
Fund Our Communities: Bring the War Dollars Home
Photos, Video and updates downloadable at http://ourfunds.org
Over 60 Md. Groups Sponsor Overflow Town Hall to “Take Back the Budget Debate”
Silver Spring, Md. Sept. 20- Tuesday night, 500 Marylanders participated in a Town Hall to address issues raised by the economic recession and the budget deal passed by Congress in August– and the need to significantly cut military spending as a key way to cut the deficit.
This Town hall was organized by the statewide coalition “Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home,“ composed of veterans’ groups, labor unions, religious congregations, advocacy, political and service organizations, representing tens of thousands of people in Maryland (see list below).
SPEAKERS: Rep. Donna Edwards; State Senators Jamie Raskin and Roger Manno; Center for American Progress senior economist Heather Boushey; and Institute for Policy Studies fellow Karen Dolan. Following the speakers and Q&A from the audience, “caucus groups” planned strategies to enable the people of Maryland to express their preferences for addressing the economic recession.
BACKGROUND: Many people in Maryland are extremely disappointed with the response of Congress and the Administration to the economic downturn, and in particular to the Federal budget deal passed on August 1. The Town Hall provided the people of Maryland an opportunity to express their views and to organize in opposition to policies that continue to fund wars and the military at the expense of needs of the people.
“The economic downturn has drained our state and local treasuries to dangerously low levels and is inflicting immense suffering on our people,” commented Senator Jamie Raskin. “In the context of this crisis, the current unprecedented level of military spending constitutes a shocking misallocation of national resources.”
Senator Roger Manno stated, “These are tough times, but we must retool for a new economy. This ‘Renewed Deal for America’ will guarantee health care, full employment, world-class schools, and sustainable agriculture and development. We must rebuild our infrastructure, strengthen communities, and make smart investments in critical sectors and people, by focusing on diplomacy, fair trade, economic security, and peace.”
The Coalition and Town Hall organizers state their economic and social goals as follows:
- Put Americans back to work
- Institute a fair and progressive tax system
- Protect Americans’ health and save the environment
- Preserve Social Security
- Reduce the Pentagon budget
- Bring all troops and contractors home from wars and occupations abroad
Coalition chair Jean Athey explained, “This Town Hall targets the disgraceful budget deal, unending wars, and other current outrages. Money spent onunnecessary wars, weapons systems, and foreign military bases should instead be invested in our communities. We demand a politics that is right and fair and just.”
The Maryland coalition Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home (www.OurFunds.org ) is one of numerous new coalitions recently formed around the nation through the New Priorities Network (www.NewPrioritiesNetwork.org).
Co-sponsors of A Town Hall–Taking Back the Budget Debate:
Coalition Members: Baltimore Nonviolence Center; Bethesda Friends Meeting; CASA de Maryland; Center for Peace, Frederick County; Chesapeake Citizens; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility; Citizen-Soldier Alliance, Baltimore; Columbia United Christian Church, Peace & Justice Committee; Democracy for America, Montgomery County; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Friends Meeting, Annapolis; Generations for Peace & Democracy; Gray Panthers, Metro DC; Green Party, Anne Arundel County; Green Party, MD; Green Party, Montgomery Co.; Healthcare-Now of MD; Homewood Friends Meeting; Little Friends for Peace; MD Black Family Alliance; MD United for Peace & Justice; Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition; Montgomery County Progressive Alliance; Muslim American Society/MD; NAACP/MD; Network of Spiritual Progressives, MD; Orthodox Peace Fellowship; Pax Christi/MD; Peace Action, Anne Arundel County; Peace Action Montgomery; Peace & Justice Coalition, Prince Georges County; Pledge of Resistance, Baltimore; Progressive Democrats of America, MD; Progressive Cheverly; Progressive Maryland; Progressive Neighbors; Prosperity Agenda; River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation/Social Justice Council; Peace Committee, Sandy Spring Friends Meeting; Sheet Metal Workers International, Local 100; Southern Christian Leadership Council, Montgomery County; UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO; Veterans for Peace, Baltimore; Veterans for Peace, Metro DC; Voters for Peace; WeGreen USA; Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom/DC.
Other Sponsors of this Town Hall: Progressive Democrats of America; Montgomery College Peace & Justice Studies Association; Progressive Working Group/Steering Committee;American Friends Service Committee—DC; Social Security Works; Coalition on Human Needs; National Priorities Network; Peace Action; Cities for Peace/ Institute for Policy Studies; US Labor Against the War; Montgomery County NOW; Pax Christi (national); AFL-CIO/MD & DC.
Organized by Md. coalition Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home (OurFunds.org)
This activity is not sponsored by, associated with, or endorsed by Montgomery County Government.