New York — An exciting Jan. 12 gala is being organized by supporters of the International Action Center to honor and celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary, as well as the 85th birthday of IAC founder Ramsey Clark. The event will be held at the historic Riverside Church in New York City and will raise funds to support the important anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist work of the IAC.
The International Action Center originated 20 years ago out of two small rooms in Ramsey Clark’s law office. Since then, its work has been carried out by a dedicated staff of volunteers, working in coalitions and networks with other organizations. The IAC mobilizes for change through rallies, demonstrations, classes, fact sheets, books, videos, the Internet, websites, intern programs, skill training and fact-finding delegations to challenge corporate rule and disinformation. The IAC offices are used for free on a daily basis by many progressive organizations.
Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, chair of the 85/20 Gala Host Committee, says that “for more than 20 years, Ramsey’s work with the IAC has meant that the people of the world know that they can count on a friend and ally in the United States, the belly of the beast. In Cuba’s most difficult hour, Ramsey and the IAC mobilized a massive rally at the Javits Convention Center and sent vital material aid delegations. At a crucial moment for Mumia Abu-Jamal, it held a historic rally at Madison Square Garden. The IAC has sustained itself through difficult times and has remained consistently anti-imperialist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist. This is an accomplishment.”
The IAC is committed to building broad-based grassroots coalitions to oppose U.S. wars abroad while fighting against racism, anti-Muslim bigotry, growing repression and mass incarceration, and the economic exploitation of workers. With every mobilization or campaign, the IAC strives to connect the struggles and bring together communities of color, women, lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people, youth and students, and immigrant and workers’ organizations to build a progressive movement for social justice and change. The IAC states that “ultimately it is our goal to work towards the liberation and freedom of all peoples living in the U.S. and around the world.”
Ramsey Clark – a ‘voice of conscience’
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark remains a unique political figure in the U.S. At great sacrifice, he has consistently opposed U.S. intervention abroad and fought for justice here at home. He has defended countless targets of racism or repression, many of whom might have otherwise stood alone — from prisoners on Texas death row to the Attica prison rebels in 1971; from Native American leader Leonard Peltier to Jamil Al-Amin, one of the most influential leaders of the Black liberation movement of the 1960s. Clark defended Lori Berenson, a U.S. political activist who was sentenced to life in prison in Peru for supporting the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, as well as prisoners in the Philippines, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt. Clark has vociferously opposed nuclear weapons, U.S. bases, drone wars and every U.S. aggression, including the current threat of a new war against Iran.
Brockmann describes his work with Clark: “During my tenure as president of the U.N. General Assembly, Ramsey was my key senior advisor on international law, providing valuable insights into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the so-called ‘responsibility to protect’ — new jargon to mask the old practice of wars of aggression — and the sorely needed reform of the United Nations. I am proud to have had the honor, during this period, of bestowing on Ramsey in 2008 the U.N. Human Rights Award. His voice, challenging U.S. wars and criminal corporate policies, is a voice of conscience recognized around the world. He has brought ethics back into the equation and discussion of global issues. That a great people’s champion stands tall and keeps fighting is well worth celebrating.”
Clark says: “In 84 years I have never celebrated a birthday. But I will on my 85th birthday because it celebrates the 20th anniversary of the IAC and helps assure its continued work.”
To purchase tickets for the Jan. 12 gala, place an ad in the gala journal, and/or help build for the event, visit www.RamseyClarkIACgala.com or www.IACenter.org.
Dowell is a coordinator of the Ramsey Clark/IAC Gala.