Sign up for Email Alerts Make a Donation

McNary Speaks at DC at Rally for the Unemployed


Our very own William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois and President of USAction, spoke at this year's Jobs Rally for the Unemployed, an event preceding last month's very successful One Nation Working Together March in Washington, DC. Below are a few excerpts from said speech:

"I can’t think of anyplace else in the world I would rather be on a Saturday morning than right here in Washington DC. Our Nation’s capitol. The People’s Capitol. Today, I stand in front of a crowd full of aggressive progressives; people not just content to spectate, speculate, pontificate or postulate about life. But people who are active participants in the movement for social justice and social change.

Democracy is a verb, not a noun. I truly believe because you are gathered here this weekend that our country will be more secure, our economy will be stronger, and our nation’s citizens, citizens-to-be, and yes, even our nation’s immigrants, will all breathe freer. Because of what the activists and advocates gathered here have done, are doing, and most importantly, what you all are getting ready to do. And because we activists & advocates are often inundated, under appreciated, under compensated, and seldom Celebrated...Why don’t you all celebrate yourselves right now!  Let Barack, Michelle, Sasha, Malia and Beau hear you in the White House.

Once we lived in an America that if you worked hard all your life and played by the rules, you could get a decent wage and be able to retire comfortably. Now we are being told that times are tough and that there are not enough jobs to go around. And if you’re lucky enough to get a job, you should be prepared to settle for less.

There is plenty of work to be done in America:

  • Repairing and Improving our Infrastructure
  • Providing Health Care & Human Services
  • Providing Education for Our Children
  • Protecting the Public Safety
  • Securing America’s Energy Future

If the private sector is unable or unwilling to create jobs, then the public sector MUST!

I live in Chicago.  I walk by work everyday. I drive my car across potholes in the local road that needs repair to an expressway that need repaving. I drive past a school where one teacher has 50 students in her class. There is no band teacher, no music teacher, no art teacher, no truant officer, no school nurse. The school is 100 years old and could use some repairing, some remodeling, some rewiring, some energy efficiency. I drive past an overcrowded public hospital while nurses, community care providers, janitors and security guards are being laid off. As I walk to my office, I walk past people on the street talking to themselves because they’ve cut mental health and human service providers. Gas guzzling cars whiz by while public transportation routes are being cut. Old clunkers spewing fumes could be replaced with fuel efficient made in America cars. There is plenty of work that we can do and we can start in our own communities.

We believe that a man or woman with their minds, their bodies, their sweat, and their spirit help make this economy profitable when times are good. These same men and women are entitled to dignity, respect ansd a share of the wealth that they helped create when times are hard.

When the economy is down, that’s the time to put America back to work and invest in them so that they can invest in America. For if we don’t commit to making a serious investment in good union jobs now, we won’t be able to generate the revenues for a strong economy.

And so we’re fighting today for our dignity. We’re fighting for our self respect. We’re fighting for jobs and justice."