11th Congressional District Labor Day Parade & Picnic — With Photos!
OK, so the President didn't come. But despite a dismal weather forecast, the weather was perfect (albeit maybe a tad humid) for the annual 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Parade & Picnic at Luke Easter Park today.
Given that it seemed like every labor union known to man had a delegation, in addition to businesses, social service agencies, clubs, churches, schools, black fraternities and sororities, drill teams, high school bands, officeholders and candidates, this was one massive parade. Move to Amend, which aims to overturn Citizens United had a group marching; so did a Hare Krishna group and a couple of black motorcycle clubs. It was diverse, to say the least. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was joined on the viewing stand by other officials, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and North Coast Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Harriet Applegate.
There were too many judges and judicial candidates in the parade to list, including a Parma Municipal candidates and some Republicans (!). But there were a few important ones. Two of the Democratic state supreme court candidates, Mike Skindell and Bill O'Neill, were marching. So was Congresswoman Betty Sutton, who's trying to stay in Congress in a new district after the Republican mapmakers eliminated her old district. Her new district has more of Cuyahoga County.
People then poured into the park ready to eat lots of unhealthy food (although a group called Healthy Kids Rock was give out apples) and listen to blues and R&B performers, including Cleveland legend Crazy Marvin.
The congresswoman brought all the officeholders and candidates in the crowd up on stage to introduce themselves briefly. She also bought up former congressman Lou Stokes, one of her predecessors, who started the annual tradition of the parade and picnic more than three decades ago.
One thing that was striking was the blitz of voter registration activity and the promotion of mail-in voting, with registration forms and mail-in ballot applications available at multiple tables and from people walking around with clipboards. The congresswoman also emphasized verifying that you are registered, a pushback to Republican threats to purge voter lists. In other states, they've found that many or most of the names purged were legitimate voters.
Another thing that was striking was the amount of Obama gear being sported by the crowd — way more than in previous years including 2008. It seems like people are even more passionate about supporting the President than they previously were. You've got to wonder if the increasing craziness of the Republican attacks on him isn't firing up his supporters.
The congresswoman left early to head down to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. So she wasn't around when Senator Sherrod Brown and his wife Connie Schultz showed up mid-afternoon, after being in Toledo earlier in the day. Brown got up on the stage and gave a short speech that focused on his efforts at job creation and preventing the shipping of jobs overseas. He also emphasized how essential it is for everyone t not only vote, but to make sure their family, friends, neighbors and fellow churchgoers vote as well. He was extremely well-received and mobbed afterward by people who wanted to shake his hand or have their photo taken with him.
"Hey — did I catch you THINKING about not voting?"