this was written at around 5:30PM by jeanette smith of the miami friends, who has been sympathy-fasting for the last two days and is at freedom village with the workers. it is unclear from this report whether rev. steele was able to hold his scheduled press conference at freedom village... please feel free to post updates if you have any! our fearless reporters have not been able to follow this story, and would appreciate your help.
Reverend Charles Steele, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, came straight from the airport to the Ashe Building at the University of Miami today. He was given permission to enter the building to negotiate with Donna Shalala [a group of female students had occupied the building, put tape over their mouths, and were humming "We Shall Overcome"]. Rev. James Bush joined him. The students were allowed to leave the building and are camped out on the lawn in front of the Ashe Building (in their tents). Rev. Steele made it very clear that if they are arrested, he will be arrested with them. Rev. Steele has given Unicco, and by extension, UM, 24 hours to resolve this with a card check. If it is not resolved by this weekend, he will return to Miami and Miami will see the largest march that they have ever seen. He says that he is from Alabama and he knows how to march. He says that this is for the country - that these workers have stood up for the country and he will not desert them even if it means filling up the jails in Miami.
I can't tell you the emotion that I feel - tears are flowing down my face - I finally see an end in sight. There is strength in unity - we are united and I truly feel the spirit in this tent.I wish I could even begin to relate the strength and wonder of the words that I'm hearing.