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Solidarity and Celebration in Atlanta
January 21, 2007 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
By Philip Nutman, Strike Co-Captain, WGA East in Georgia
As our strike continues, members of the WGA East, supported
by members of SAG/AFTRA/Equity, ALPA (the Pilots' Union), fans4writers, and faculty
and students from Emory
screenwriting program joined thousands of other union members, peace groups,
political supporters and civil rights activists in the annual MLK Day march and
Walking from the top of famous Peachtree Street south to
historic "Sweet" Auburn Avenue, past the legendary Ebenezer Baptist
church where Dr. King preached and sowed the seeds for the Civil Rights Movement,
the march was watched and cheered by thousands more who came out to brave the
unseasonably freezing Georgia weather.
Although modest in size compared to other unions, the WGA
group – which numbered around 20 people – were repeatedly greeted with cheers
of support and pumped fists from the
Despite being tired and cold from hours outdoors in
temperatures that barely reached 40 degrees (but were closer to freezing thanks
to the wind chill factor), my strike co-captain Jason Dolan agreed the
experience was exciting and invigorating.
"It was great—very empowering," Dolan said at the march's
conclusion outside the MLK
Center for Nonviolent
"To be part of such an iconic experience was exhilarating," added fellow WGA-er Michael
Lucker. "To be stretching the impassioned message of the Writers Guild far beyond
the streets of Hollywood
was a privilege."
The consensus among our group was unanimous: empowering and
very gratifying, especially the response from the crowd.
Spearheading the procession were visiting dignitaries
alongside Atlanta Mayor Shirley Jackson and representatives from peace and
church groups. Following immediately behind came the unions – CWA
(Communications Workers of America) UNITE HERE! (the Industrial and Textile and
Hotel Employees), Teamsters and many others.
We were asked to march directly behind our friends in the
CWA, which was great as the local office supported us when we held our first
awareness rally last month.
"They were wearing red, we were rearing red, and the UNITE HERE! people
behind us were wearing red," Dolan said. "There was a lot of red."
Between the CWA and the UNITE! crowd, we didn't need to call
out our message as they shouted it out best: "Mighty, mighty Union!"
I suggested we stay silent. After all we're writers, we're
on strike and haven't written anything to say.
Our merry band laughed.
Who said solidarity had to be serious? Especially on a cold
day dedicated to peace.
View pictures from the Atlanta Rally>