For Immediate Release



Camp Hope

A Countdown to Change: A Presence in Hyde Park January 1st-19th (Dr. Martin Luther King Day), 2009

CHICAGO - Dear Friends, 

In January, 2009, Barack Obama
will be inaugurated as president of the United States.  We earnestly
hope his presidency will signal the dawning of long-needed progressive
change in the United States. To help build popular momentum behind the
progressive goals of President Obama's campaign, we intend to maintain
a 20-day presence, from January 1 - January 19, 2009, in Hyde Park,
Chicago:  "Camp Hope: Countdown Toward Change."

Every day from New Years'
to Dr. Martin Luther King Day (1/1-1/19), whatever the winter has in
store for us, we will set up at the intersection of E. Hyde Park Blvd.
and S. Drexel Ave to congratulate Senator Obama as our new President-elect
and recommit ourselves to progressive actions he promoted on his campaign
trail.  We are urging President-elect Obama to take eight actions immediately
upon being sworn into office, and reminding ourselves that these are
only eight early steps to more profound policy changes.

  • As Commander-in-Chief,
    issue an order directing the U.S. military to reduce the overall levels
    of U.S. military personnel deployed in Iraq by no fewer than 5,000 military
    personnel per month and to immediately cease offensive combat operations,
    with the ultimate objective of removing all military personnel from
    Iraq (other than those required for normal embassy missions) and the
    complete cessation of hostilities within Iraq.
  • Establish a commission
    to explore and develop policy proposals for full employment, living
    wage jobs and job training 
    i-in light of the impact of unemployment, especially amongst Black,
    Latino and other young adults; and, 
    ii-recognizing that unemployment and the prison-industrial complex are
    intrinsically race-based and connected in that the U.S. elects to imprison
    people of color rather than create living wage employment opportunities.
  • Cease and desist
    in the execution of all raids and immediately suspend deportations until
    comprehensive immigration reform is completed.  Support comprehensive
    immigration reform which promotes the reunification of families and
    provides legal status with a path to citizenship for the millions of
    persons who are currently undocumented; suspend all of the Bush administration's
    policies regarding border patrol until comprehensive immigration reform
    is completed
  • Take all nuclear
    weapons off hair-trigger alert and begin negotiations with other leaders
    of nuclear weapon states to reduce and eliminate all nuclear weapons.
  • Close Guantanamo;
    eliminate military tribunals and accord, to detainees being held at
    Guantanamo and other U.S. detention facilities, access to the U.S. court
    system.  We ask that the President-elect reverse the Bush administration's
    advisory opinions regarding the permissibility of torture in extracting
    information from detainees and forbid all forms of torture by any and
    all US agencies and personnel..
  • Establish a commission
    to explore policy proposals which would provide universal health coverage
    and make recommendations that would cover all pre-existing conditions,
    provide no less coverage than what the Congressional health care plan
    provides, and provide health care to the greatest number of people.
  • Establish a 90-day
    moratorium on all housing foreclosures.
  • Submit the Kyoto
    Protocol to Congress for ratification, making a commitment to reduce
    emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

As activists committed to nonviolence,
several groups working for peaceful and just social change, both locally
and nationally, have collaborated to launch Camp Hope.  These groups
include:  Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the St. Louis-based
Justice and Peace Shares, Pax Christi, IL, AFSC, IL Coalition for Peace,
Justice, and the Environment, the Eighth Day Center for Justice, Kairos
Chicago, North Suburban Peace Initiative, North Shore Coalition for
Peace and Justice, Hyde Parkers for Peace and Justice and the Peace
Action Sub-committee of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago. 

We now welcome wide participation
in this effort.

In addition to our daily vigil,
we will organize community workshops, forums, and town hall meetings
on the above-mentioned policies and on nonviolent strategies for achieving
them.  Peace and justice advocates who wish to visit Chicago to
be part of Camp Hope will be warmly welcomed, whether for a single day
or the duration of the encampment. We'll offer logistics help to the
best of our abilities, but we do ask participants to anticipate covering
their own expenses for housing, transportation and food.   

The 2008 election energized countless Americans to organize anew for
change. Now that the election is over, it will take continued outreach,
organizing, and popular involvement - including sustained pressure
on Congress - to enact the progressive changes that brought Americans
to the polls to elect Barack Obama.  We hope you'll consider
joining our efforts in 2009.  Write to us at:   or call us at  773-878-3815


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