Thousands Walk ‘The Unemployment Line’ at RNC Convention


Contact: Nathan Richter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202/467-4999

Massive Demonstration To Be Defining Protest Action of RNC Convention

From 8:13 to 8:31 AM on September 1, 2004, more than 5,000 concerned citizens and activists will participate in THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE — one of the most visually stunning and politically significant protest actions surrounding the RNC convention. The line will represent the nearly 1.2 million jobs lost under the Bush Administration and the more than eight million Americans who are currently unemployed.

More than 5,000 citizens, each holding a pink slip over their head, will form a line stretching from the corner of Broadway and Wall St., up to 31st St. and then west along 31st St to 7th Ave. — right across from Madison Square Garden and the site of the Republican National Convention. The line will stretch 3.4 miles through New York City.

“If all 8.2 million jobless Americans formed a single unemployment line, it would stretch unbroken from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Portland, Oregon — and that’s if we really packed them in,” said Deni Frand, director of People For the American Way’s New York office. “Four years ago, we were promised that 6 million new jobs would be created but instead, 1.2 million jobs have been lost. That is over 7 million fewer jobs than predicted. This is the greatest sustained job loss since the Great Depression. We’re hoping The Unemployment Line will remind this administration of their responsibility to put America to work.”

“The Unemployment Line is a poignant reminder that all over America, men and women are without the kind of jobs that support families and build communities,” said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way. “This will be a sight that attendees to the convention cannot ignore. While we are doing our part to make sure that America’s unemployed are remembered outside the convention hall, it is up to the attendees of the RNC convention that they are remembered inside the hall as well.”

THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE is being organized by People For the American Way; the Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues and Ideas; and New York State AFL-CIO, and other local and national groups.

Organizers will be coordinating several locations on Broadway for media availabilities and photo opportunities. These locations will be announced in the coming days.