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The sun was still shining on the State Capitol at 5:30 p.m. Monday, at the start of the Sacramento Central Labor Council's Candlelight Vigil for Wisconsin Workers. The crowd grew to an estimated 2,000 people, in solidarity with labor and human rights movements in Wisconsin and beyond.
The supply of signs for "We Stand With Wisconsin Workers" and flameless vigil candles didn't meet the demand. There were handmade signs, such as: "Labor Rights. Human Rights. Women's Rights. We Are One" and "Serf's Unite."
"We Are One," "It's About Freedom" and other signs from dozens of labor organizations, represented nurses, state workers, educators, fire fighters, law enforcement and skilled trade unions.
The opening invocation called for justice and for all people to have their basic needs met. It expressed gratitude for "so many who stood up to engage evil: the evil of corporate greed and malice; the evil of government union busting; the evil of protecting the rich at the expense of the poor."
The first speaker was Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation. "The protests that we see in Wisconsin today are much bigger than one legislative bill or one state. It isn't just about Wisconsin. It isn't just about public sector workers. It isn't even just about union members.
"This is about an assault on the working class values of America. This is a fight for democracy. This is a fight that all working Americans cannot afford to lose."
The speeches and songs in solidarity continued. The best sound quality was in the center front. The crowd that spilled toward the back and onto the grassy sides had some difficulty hearing the speakers.
A man in a luxurious overcoat worthy of a corporate robber baron, passed through the crowd quickly and commented, "They should have gone non-union for the sound system."
The enthusiasm of the people was not deterred by the cold temperature or the cold-blooded attitude that non-union labor is superior to union labor.
Bill Camp, Executive Secretary of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, gave a shout out to several legislators that he said were "in the house." Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Tweeted in: "Standing in solidarity w my brothers & sisters across this country."
One of the speakers challenged the legislators who have expressed support, to commit for the long term and write legislation in support of the Wisconsin workers.
The message, loud and clear from the feeble sound speakers and the strong show of solidarity, matched the invocation at the start of the vigil:
"As we applaud those in Egypt, Iran, Tunisia and Libya, who cried out against government oppression - oppression that seeks to deny their rights - let us also applaud those in Wisconsin and through out this land who seek to do the same."
More actions are planned for the week. MoveOn.org announced a call for "emergency rallies in front of every statehouse Saturday, Feb. 26 at noon, to stand together to save the American Dream."
USuncut is a group based on UKuncut to organize those "ready to help make corporate tax dodgers pay their fair share" also planning events for Feb. 26
Channel 1000 video: Solidarity for Wisconsin workers: candlelight vigil