NEW YORK - August 18 - From August 30th through September 2nd, the 2004 Republican National Convention will take place here in New York City. Republican attendees will be greeted by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who oppose the Bush agenda in myriad ways and who want to show that New York is none too happy about being used as a prop in Mr. Bushs election campaign.
Standing with New Yorkers will be an untold number of activists from around the country who will join us as we say no to Bushs doctrine of preventive war, his tax breaks for the rich, and his destructive environmental and social policies. As we welcome out-of-towners to New York to send their message to the RNC, the question remains: where are they all going to sleep?
The protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention promise to be one of the largest progressive mobilizations in U.S. history, with activists traveling to New York from nearly every state in the union. Some might be able to stay with friends or afford the cost of a hotel in the city, but many others (including larger groups coming from places like Washington DC, Chicago, Northern Nevada, Florida and many more) are desperately looking for a place to stay for just a night or two, or for the entire convention. In order to make the RNC protests successful and truly national in character, it is important that we find housing for all of the people who need it.
Activists have been working on several different fronts to make sure that we succeed in this effort. Several area churches are opening their doors to folks from out of town. "This is an important effort by religious communities in our city, and I'm pleased with the responses we've gotten from them, said Reverend Earl Kooperkamp, of the Forum of Concerned Religious Leaders. Hospitality is part of our spirituality, and if people want to come to New York to send a message about their values and where they stand it's important for us to support them."
A small group of organizers has been working as an informal Housing Working Group to find sleeping space for out-of-town activists by partnering with the Forum of Concerned Religious Leaders and encouraging individuals to offer up space in their homes through the Counter Convention web site. The goal is to have more people offering housing than requesting it so everyone who wants to come to the city and send a message to Bush and the RNC can rest assured that they will have somewhere to sleep, said housing group member Geoff Johnson. Already hundreds and hundreds of New York area residents have offered to open their homes to folks coming in from out of town. We advise groups and individuals coming to New York City for the RNC to explore housing options immediately if they have not already done so.
Please visit the Housing Board at http://www.counterconvention.org/ for more information and to list an offer or request for housing. If we can find thousands of committed activists a temporary home in NYC for a few days in August and September, we can help send George W. Bush to a permanent home in Crawford, Texas in November!