|Liberal coalition looks to re-energize voters with D.C. rally|
|Updated 9/30/2010 3:52 AM ET|
University of Wisconsin sophomore Max Love is marching for his friends who have had to drop out of college because they could not afford rising tuition.
Jennifer Ibarra is marching for better education for her four school-age children and other working single parents struggling to raise their families on minimum wages.
"I'm just making it," says Ibarra, 28, a human resource manager in Chicago who takes home about $550 a week. "I've been through a lot. I want to help somebody not go through what I've been through."
The three are joining liberal groups at the National Mall in a march organizers say represents the needs of America's working class. Leah Doughtry, campaign director for One Nation Working Together, the coalition organizing the event, says the participating groups understand the key issues facing the country.MAP: Track House, Senate and governor races AUGUST RALLY: Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin call for restoring honor
The march comes a little more than a month after a high-profile rally by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. Beck also said his rally represented America's working and middle classes.
The liberal groups list a set of policies they want Washington to follow to create jobs and provide more help for those without them, end racial profiling and other discrimination in the criminal justice system, push for immigration changes and provide good quality, affordable education.
Their coalition is made up of civil and human rights groups, unions, immigration advocates, gay rights groups and churches. Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, one of the organizers, says the march will showcase working Americans, particularly minorities, whose voices have gone unheard in a political debate that he says has focused on the strength of the Tea Party and opinions of extreme commentators.
"We're not an alternative to the Tea Party. We want to be an antidote," Jealous says. "We want to make the mainstream of the country visible to itself."
Another high-profile gathering will be held Oct. 30 when comedians Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of the channel's Colbert Report plan dueling rallies on the Mall. They're listed under upcoming events on the website for Saturday's march.
"I think the more participation the better," says Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, a Washington, D.C., organization that helps low-income families and minorities.
Saturday's rally is also an effort to re-energize voters who elected President Obama two years ago. Polls show Democrats are in danger of losing their majority in the House in November.
Doughtry, a long-time Democratic Party organizer, says the coalition is not advocating one party over the other.
However, the rally will spotlight what the groups consider successes of the Obama administration such as the passage of the health care bill, Jealous says.
"You have to remind people that all this can be gone tomorrow," says Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the gay rights group National Black Justice Coalition.
Greenwood, 38, says she's been paying more attention to economic issues since August, when she was laid off after five years as a station agent with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The single mother says she'll speak about her scramble to support herself and four children on her $400-a-week unemployment check. She says she struggles to keep her 20-year-old daughter in college, her teenage son off the streets and her two younger daughters in good schools.
"My story is not unique in any way," she says. "What about the middle class?"
|Posted 9/29/2010 7:14 PM ET|
|Updated 9/30/2010 3:52 AM ET|