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Fight The Zero – DC Rally Recap

November 14, 2011

Today’s post comes from Ben Duda, our Executive Director, who was able to partake in the Fight the Zero Rally, held in DC.

Thursday morning, November 3rd 2011 was the start of something monumental.

Ready with our red shirts on at 8am, about 75 of us gathered outside of the Capital South Metro stop and the nearby office building for members of the House of Representatives and their staff to start a morning wake up call for Capitol Hill.

Made up of AmeriCorps alumni and college students, we represented AmeriCorps Alums, the nonprofit ServeNext, the Save Service coalition, and the DC chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, all standing up for  the interests of the 100,000’s of Young Americans that were denied a chance to serve in AmeriCorps in 2011.  We were also fighting for a whole generation of young people that are in currently in formal schooling – who will someday soon, be looking for a service opportunity in AmeriCorps.

The protection of the right to pursue that opportunity to serve is worth the fight!

For two hours , we held signs, handed out flyers, etc.  – attracting the thousands of commuters that were headed to the US Capitol Complex to our cause.  We were greeted with smiles, with thumbs up, and “GO AmeriCorps!” shoutouts from individuals as they passed by.  We took this opportunity as a way to remind staffers that there is a community of individuals actively fighting against the proposed ZERO in the House of Representatives.

At 10 AM, we headed indoors to hear from our speakers, whom continuesd to fuel our rallying spirits..  Zach Maurin, a City Year AmeriCorps Alum, and Morgan St. Jean, an AmeriCorps VISTA Alum from Oregon, helped to introduce Congresswoman Matsui of California and Congresswoman DeLauro of Connecticut.

“Gov’t investment in AmeriCorps provides enormous value” – Congresswoman Matsui

“Don’t take no for an answer when they talk about cutting AmeriCorps.” – Congresswoman Delauro

The two Representatives also read a powerful statement, in support of AmeriCorps, from Congressman Price of North Carolina :

“Over the last fifty years, these programs have experienced broad, bipartisan support because they are essential to providing citizens an active role in addressing the nation’s challenges and keeping us strong, and making service at all levels by all ages a key component of what it means to be an American.”

I truly believe this is the start of something.  Alums see the defining impact that AmeriCorps has had in their lives, and want that opportunity protectedan expanded for the future generations  Your continued activism – in making calls, writing letters, using social media, and most importantly, telling your story, is how we will continue to inform the national public that AmeriCorps is the opportunity for us to continue making America better for our future generations.

How will you continue to Fight the Zero?

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