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500,000 will march on Washington, D.C.; May 16 'Save Our Cities' demonstration gains steam.

Heightened interest in the "Save Our Cities" March on Washington, scheduled for May 16, is one of the immediate responses to the civil disturbances that rocked Los Angeles before spreading to other cities across the country.

The idea for the March surfaced about a year ago in a Newsweek column written by Osborn Elliott, chairman of the Citizens Committee for New York City. After presenting the idea to the U.S. Confrence of Mayors, the March was adopted as a project by the Confrence. The National League of Cities later joined as a supporter of the March to "Save Our Cities."

Prior to the Los Angeles riots, the March had received the endorsements of more than 120 mayors and upwards of 175 national and community based organizations. At least 80 cities had committed to sending delegations to participate in the May 16th March.

Since the events last week, several more cities and organizations have signed on as endorsers. A major endorsement that could help swell the number of Marchers came last week when a group of civil rights leaders from across the country attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. The groups enthusiastically endorsed the March and felt compelled to ensure its success in light of the disturbances that had taken place across the country. Organizers are now projecting that a minimum of 200,000--and as many as 500,000--people will participate in the March.

In recent years, cities and towns have seen federal aid fall by about 60 percent. As a direct result, cities have had to make drastic cuts in services and have been fighting an uphill battle in dealing with such issues as crime, homelessness, drugs and infrastructure.

The March is intended to force the Congress and the White House to make major shifts in funding priorities, particularly in light the demise of the former Soviet Union.

On Friday, May 15, the day before the March, organizers are planning a day of coordinated lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill led by mayors and councilmembers.

For more information concerning the March, contact Wendy Grassi at the "Save Our Cities" headquarters office (202)944-5092.
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Title Annotation:includes related schedule information
Author:McCloud, Thom
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 11, 1992
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