International team members of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence met with United States Congressman Dennis Kucinich on December 3. The meeting was part of a series of meetings on Capitol Hill that also included staff members of Congressman John Lewis, a former Civil Rights activist and close colleague of Martin Luther King, Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Members of the World March team also met with Victor Rico, Director of Political Affairs at the Organization of American States.
Congressman Kucinich reaffirmed his support for the aims of the World March, of which he was an early endorser. He also added his endorsement to the Charter for a World Without Violence, an initiative of the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates which the World March has adopted as one of its official documents and is disseminating as it travels the world. Kucinich presented the marchers with a copy of his initiative to create a US Department of Peace.
Jamlia Thompson, Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Lewis, shared several of the Congressman’s initiatives, including a proposal to teach the doctrine of nonviolence in conflict resolution to young people, a bill calling for US recommitment to international human and civil rights, and a bill to create international exchange programs applying the nonviolent philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
According to Rafael de la Rubia, international spokesperson for the World March and President of World Without Wars, “the meetings went exceptionally well. Everyone gave strong support for the World March and they expressed their desire to work together. In the meeting with Jamlia Thompson we strongly coincided on the theme of nonviolence education and with Keith Ellison there was a strong interest in the elimination of nuclear weapons.”
Isabelle Bourgeois of the international team said she was “humbled” by Lewis’s historic role in the Civil Rights movement. Alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Congressman Lewis was a leader of the historic Selma to Montgomery marches that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Thompson also announced that Congressman Lewis was to introduce a resolution in support of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence to Congress that afternoon.
The meetings come a day after a tribute from the World March to Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Chris Wells, the spokesperson for New Humanism and the World March and Dennis Redmond, the US Coordinator were also present.
Beginning in New Zealand on October 2nd, the World March arrived in New York on November 30 for four days including stopovers in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Red Bluff and the border of US-Mexico. It continues through Central America and onto South America and will end on January 2, 2010 at Punta de Vacas, in the Argentine Andes.