N. Calif. banquet to honor Freedom Riders

OAKLAND, Calif. – Struggles for democracy, civil and workers’ rights, equality and peace will be celebrated at this year’s Northern California People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9.

Immigrant Workers Freedom Riders from HERE Locals 2 and 2850 – whose international union, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, helped spark the historic multi-union cross-country journey – will be among this year’s honorees. Joining them will be longshore workers of ILWU Local 10 who helped win last year’s epic contract battle against the giant shipping transnationals, and who played a leading role against the Iraq war. Standing with them will be the janitors of Service Employees International Union Local 1877 in the Bay Area and Sacramento, whose recent contract victories are bringing better conditions to working families, including many immigrant families, throughout the region.

The 50th anniversary of the historic film, “Salt of the Earth,” will be celebrated in a tribute to Lorenzo and Anita Torrez. The two will be honored for their continuing dedication to the people’s movements for democracy, equality, workers’ and immigrant rights, as well as their participation in the miners’ strike and the making of the film under the very difficult conditions of the McCarthy era.

Also honored will be Asian Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership (AYPAL), KidsFirst, and Youth of Oakland United (YOU). These organizations are in the frontlines of crucial struggles for better education, services and jobs for youth, as well as urgent youth and student issues including equal rights for students of color and immigrant youth.

Initiating sponsors for the event are Berkeley Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek; Judy Goff, executive secretary treasurer of the Alameda County Central Labor Federation; Walter Johnson, secretary-treasurer, San Francisco Labor Federation; and Juan Lopez of Northern California Friends of the People’s Weekly World.

An exciting cultural program will feature song, dance and poetry by outstanding young Bay Area artists.

As the crucial 2004 election year approaches, the program will emphasize the urgency of defeating the far-right forces whose military measures abroad and attacks on democratic and workers’ rights at home threaten the security of working families everywhere.

The banquet will be held Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1:00 p.m. at Hs Lordships Restaurant on the Berkeley Marina. Reservations are $40. Call (510) 251-1050 for more information.