Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

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Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Delegation to Iraq

While the U.S. prepares for war against Iraq, formerU.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark arrived in Iraq, August 2002, with a five-person fact-finding peace delegation.

The delegation metwith high government officials, family members of people who were killed in the U.S. bombing of Basra August 26, and visitinghospitals and food distribution centers. The group is touring Basra at the site of yesterday's bombing raid that killed eight civilians.

The purpose of this trip is to report on the latest effects of U.S.-led UN sanctions against the Iraqi civilian population, and to show solidarity with the people of Iraq who are facing the prospect of an imminent US war of aggression. Ramsey Clark is the founder and chairperson of the U.S.-based International Action Center, which has campaigned against the devastating economic sanctions on Iraq for the last decade.

The delegation also included Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney and co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice, Johnnie Stevens, co-director of the People's Video Network, Kadouri al-Kaysi, coordinator of the Committee in Solidarity with the Iraqi People, and Brian Becker, co-director of the International Action Center.[1]

National Campaign to Defend Civil Rights

Representatives and supporters of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) coalition held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., June 18 2002, to announce the National Campaign to Defend Civil Rights. The group announced a major demonstration on June 29 at the headquarters of the FBI and Justice Department.

"Our community is uniting with other civil rights and anti-war organizations to mobilize for the June 29 demonstration protesting the attacks on civil rights and civil liberties," stated Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation.

Rainbow Coalition/PUSH leader Joe Leonard explained that his organization was mobilizing for the June 29 protest because President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft's use of racial and political profiling was "a threat to all the hard won civil rights gains of past generations."

"The Bush administration is substantially expanding the FBI and CIA authority to conduct domestic spying in the absence of probable cause or criminal conduct and is authorizing indefinite detention for citizens and non-citizens at the sole discretion and the direction of George Bush and John Ashcroft--without charge or trial, and without access to an attorney," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice explained in analyzing the government's latest move.

Other speakers at the news conference included: Lubaba Abdallah, Muslim Student Association of U.S. & Canada; the Rev. Graylan Hagler, senior minister, Plymouth Congregational Church; Macrina Cardenas, Mexico Solidarity Network; Peta Lindsay & Daniel Keesler, ANSWER youth and student organizers; Chuck Kaufman, national coordinator, Nicaragua Network; Damu Smith, Black Voices for Peace; and Brian Becker, co-director, International Action Center.[2]

"People say NO war"

After the massive Oct. 26 2002 anti-war march, in which the broad avenues surrounding the White House were packed solid with demonstrators, there "can no longer be a shred of doubt about it: grassroots sentiment in the U.S. is opposed to the Bush administrationplans for a "pre-emptive" war on Iraq".

People came to D.C., the heart of the federal government, from every state in the U.S. The International ANSWER coalition, which initiated the call for the protest, reported 150 organizing centers around the country. Hundreds of chartered buses caused gridlock in the White House area. Tens of thousands also streamed into the city by car, van, plane and train.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the ANSWER steering committee opened the rally and introduced her three co-chairs: Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; Michel Shehadeh of the Free Palestine Alliance, and Larry Holmes of the International Action Center. Shehadeh and Holmes are also ANSWER steering committee members.[3]

"NO WAR, NO WAY"

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Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.

Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.

Anti-war speakers included Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessen from Military Families Speak Out and Liz McAlister, partner and widow of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan. “No blood for oil!” demanded disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Speaking out for labor against the war: Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME 1707 and Local 215 as well as a co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; Fred Mason, president of statewide Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO; Michael Letwin from U.S. Labor Against War and Dr. Nadia Marsh from Doctors and Nurses Against the War.

ANSWER speakers included Youth and Student Coordinator Peta Lindsay, Elias Rashmawi from the Free Palestine Alliance. Jennifer Wager from IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard from PCJ and Larry Holmes and Brian Becker, both from the International Action Center.

Speakers representing other anti-war coalitions included Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-chair of United for Peace and Justice; Damu Smith from Black Voices for Peace; Medea Benjamin from Global Exchange, and Miles Solay from Not In Our Name.

Jesse Heiwa, from Queers for Peace and Justice, New York, pointed to the growing coalition of lesbian, gay, bi and trans organizations against the war. Brooklyn-based activists Viola Plummer from the December 12th Movement and City Councilman Charles Barron raised the need for anti-racist solidarity, including fighting for reparations. Singer Patti Smith and D.C. cultural artists Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy performed. [4]

National Lawyers Guild

The 2009 National Executive Committee of the National Lawyers Guild included Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Committee Representative, Mass Defense, Washington, DC.[5] '

National Conference on Socialism

Psl-2008.jpg

The Party for Socialism and Liberation held a National Conference on Socialism, December 6-7, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA.

The International Solidarity Session was chaired by Ena Valladares (Los Angeles), Kerbie Joseph (New York City), and Javier Lavoe (New York City) and featured a presentation by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

Speaking on the plenary were;

Statements were read by Jennifer Zaldana from the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), and the People’s Socialist Party of Mexico (PPSD).[6]

Solidarity with North Korea

Larry Holmes, Workers World Party’s first secretary, led a three-person, party delegation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the end of July, 2013. The DPRK was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

According to Holmes: "We were not the only ones from the U.S. There was a delegation from the Socialist Workers Party. Progressive attorneys Ramsey Clark and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard were there, as was the ANSWER Coalition. [7]

References

  1. [casi Anyone think we could get Donahue to air Ramsey Clark? From: Lisa Thomas <wearingpurple@DELETETHISyahoo.com> Subject: [casi] Anyone think we could get Donahue to air Ramsey Clark? Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 19:30:10 -0700 (PDT)]
  2. [Unite to fight Ashcroft, FBI Announce June 29 protests in Washington, other cities By Workers World Washington bureau Reprinted from the June 27, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper]
  3. [People say NO war Protesters encircle White House, flood streets of S.F. By Deirdre Griswold Washington, D.C. Reprinted from the Nov. 7, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper]
  4. [WW http://www.workers.org/pdf/2003/ww013003.pdf Jan. 30, 2003]
  5. http://nlg.org/aboutus/board.php
  6. PSL National Conference on Socialism, November 13-14, 2010 report, PSL website, accessed November 30, 2010
  7. WW What workers need to know about Korea By Larry Holmes on August 28, 2013