Press Release

Vigils at Legislative Offices in San Diego, other cities, April 4

Activists to Call on Congress to Honor Dr. King’s Fight for Economic Justice with Tax on Wall Street   

Nurses, AIDS activists, students, transit workers, and other community activists will call on Congressional offices in 22 cities – including San Diego – April 4 to step up the call for a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund programs to redress economic inequality and address other basic needs.

April 4 marks the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was slain in the midst of a campaign for economic justice that, in his last year, included an anti-poverty campaign and worker justice.

Advocates of the Wall Street tax, also known as the Robin Hood tax, say it would raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually to work for economic justice and fund other basic needs that are critical to the cause that Dr. King worked to achieve.

The actions will feature vigils in Dr. King’s memory outside district offices of local Congress members, followed by a visit to the legislator calling on them to pledge to support HR 1579 to raise the revenue needed to fight economic inequality.

"We are asking Representative Susan Davis to support the Robin Hood Tax because we know first-hand about the suffering in this community and we know this tax is part of the solution," said Lisa Ross, an RN at UCSD Medical Center. This district has one of the highest rates of income inequality and homelessness in the entire region. We're acting because the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called on us to work for a fair and just society that ensures dignity for all. Representative Davis says that she cares about our veterans, women’s issues, education and housing security, and that's why now is the time for her to support the Robin Hood Tax.

Nationally, the actions kick off with a Washington D.C. press conference featuring Rep. Keith Ellison, author of HR 1579, the Inclusive Prosperity Act and a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rev. Rodney Sadler, a leader of the Moral Monday movement that has rocked North Carolina and other Southern cities.

Others participating in the DC event are, Bill Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists who was with King in Memphis in April, 1968, and leaders of National Nurses United, Health GAP, a prominent organization fighting to eradicate HIV/AIDS.

Vigils and Congressional office visits are also planned for  New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Orlando, Boston, San Diego, San Antonio, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach, Fl., Bangor, Me., Herndon, Va., Pawtucket, R.I., Ann Arbor, Mi., Brownsville and El Paso, Tx., Dayton, Oh., and Oxnard, Ca.

“This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have nots,” Dr. King once said. “The question is whether America will do it.”

“Nearly half a century later, poverty and inequality remains a persistent blight on our nation. As nurses we see the pain of patients who are struggling to survive with un-payable medical bills while trying to find the resources their families also need for their daily life,” said Sandy Falwell, RN, a vice president of NNU. 

“HR 1579 is an essential step to providing the resources our communities need for good jobs, quality health care, and fighting poverty and inequality and fulfilling Dr. King’s dream,” said Falwell.

HR 1579 would set a small fee, similar to the sales tax most Americans pay on consumer goods, of just 50 cents on every $100 of stock trades and smaller amounts on transactions of bonds and derivatives with revenues available for jobs, health care, education, the fight against HIV/AIDS and climate change, and other needs. 

Sponsors of HR 1579 include NNU, Health Global Action Project, National People’s Action, with endorsers from 150 national and local community organizations.

HR 1579 is patterned after a similar tax now being implemented by 11 European countries, and already in place in every major financial world market except the U.S.  It targets the wealthiest of the wealthy, the bankers and brokers whose gambling broke our economy, and the top 1 percent who own most of the nation’s stocks and bonds, says the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.

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