99 Spring Standing Up For Democracy

Although we’ve only been back on the air for a couple of months, in your letters, e-mails and webpage comments a single theme emerges time and again – thank you for the reporting, for the interviews and for your commentary, you tell us, but the problems seem so insurmountable, the forces arrayed against us so large, what can I do, as one person, to make a difference? How can I help bring change to America, how can I get involved in the issues facing our country?

Well, on this edition of Moyers & Company, we’re going to tell you about some of the ways people are taking action and we’ll introduce you to some young activists – all of whom are involved with an enormous citizen effort that’s just a few days away. It’s a nationwide initiative called the “99% Spring,” and it takes place the week of April 9th. Its organizers aim to teach 100,000 Americans about income inequality and then send them out to spread the word from door to door and even at the shareholder meetings of our too-big-to-fail banks – the banks we bailed out with our billions of tax dollars when the economy went up in smoke and flames four years ago.

The inspiration for the 99% Spring comes from the Occupy movement and mobilizations like this one in the fall of 2009, when citizens from all over the country came to Chicago to confront the American Bankers Association. Organizer George Goehl brought together a coalition of grassroots organizations big and small.

One of the brains behind the 99% Spring, George Goehl has been a community organizer, a strategist and trainer for 20 years. He’s executive director of National People’s Action. That’s a network of grassroots organizations in 14 states using direct action to battle against economic and racial injustice.

Ai-Jen Poo is director and co-founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. It includes more than 20 organizations in 10 states and more than 10,000 members. She led the fight for the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights here in New York State, the first of its kind in America. And now she’s fighting for a similar bill in California.

Since 2007, Sarita Gupta has been the executive director of Jobs with Justice. That’s a labor organization in over 45 communities and 25 states. They work to create a broad, global movement for economic and social justice. She led the Chicago chapter of Jobs with Justice for four years and served as its national field director for three.

The two women have joined forces not only for April’s 99% Spring Action but also to build an economic campaign for domestic and home care workers of all ages. They call it Caring Across Generations.

Our three organizers this week have inspired us to create a page called “Take Action” on our website, BillMoyers.com. You’ll find information and ideas there aimed at helping you discover ways in which you can make a difference.

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