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Heal the Valley

Sandy Perry

Special to El Observador

 From October 7 to 13, the March to Heal the Valley walked across Santa Clara County from its poorest communities to its richest enclaves. Beginning at the corner of Story and King in San Jose, it marched down Story Road past “The Jungle”, the homeless encampment identified by Business Insider as the largest in the United States. It rallied with students at San Jose State University against painful cuts caused by the government sequester.

The purpose of the march was to bring together the poor of Silicon Valley, and march to the gates of its wealthiest corporations to ask them to join a campaign to end poverty. The corporations have the power to force the government to change its priorities. In fact, corporations themselves indirectly caused the recent sequester cuts by relentlessly lobbying for corporate tax breaks. March to Heal the Valley asked them to lobby to end poverty instead.

It specifically asked the corporations to:

•Offset the impact of the Federal sequester on the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara ($21 million).

•Guarantee good jobs and benefits for all security and service workers connected with Silicon Valley’s leading industries.

•Fund a Faith Center to bring together the faith community to house and serve the homeless.

•Join the campaign to demand that government end the housing crisis for everyone and bring about the total, direct, and immediate abolition of poverty as called for by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hosted overnight by churches along the way, marchers crossed Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, arriving at Apple World Headquarters on October 9 and Google on October 10. There they rallied together with members of United Service Workers West, who called on the corporations to contract responsibly, especially with security companies. Security Industry Specialists (SIS) is currently mistreating its employees who work at Apple and Google.

Sponsors of the march included CHAM Deliverance Ministry, Exodus to Serenity, Silicon Valley Debug, Low-Income Self-Help Center, United Service Workers West, Voluntarios de la Comunidad, and others.

The spirit of the march showed that it is possible to end poverty. The love and unity the marchers felt for each other inspired them, and all who came around them, with the vision of a better world. Yes, we can build an economy based on cooperation where all of God’s people are treated with dignity and respect. But it will only happen if we ourselves have the faith to become the leaders we are looking for.

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