Press release from Reject Raytheon AVL:
Local coalition Reject Raytheon AVL will call attention to war profiteering and the planetary climate emergency on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 10 am with a demonstration at the site of the Pratt & Whitney bridge across the French Broad River.
Pratt & Whitney, a multinational corporation in the aerospace industry, is wholly owned by Raytheon Technologies, the second largest military contractor in the world. In Buncombe County, it is building a 1.2 million square foot plant that will manufacture jet engine parts for commercial and military use.
This event in Asheville is part of a week of actions sponsored by the War Industry Resisters Network, a coalition of organizations across the country taking action to oppose their local war companies.
The focus of the local demonstration is to call for a change in the national and local economies, away from war and fossil fuel industries and towards investing in pressing social needs such as clean energy, affordable housing, green jobs, education, and health care.
Speakers at the rally will include Matthew Hoh, a Green Party candidate for the US Senate, Bill Branyon, a local candidate for the Buncombe County Commission, Rev. Sara Wilcox, and local leaders of the Sunrise Movement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Reject Raytheon AVL. Local musician Saro Lynch will perform. The rally will be followed by a festive Earth Day parade with signs, banners, and music provided by the Brass Your Heart Band.
Reject Raytheon AVL is a local group of activists raising public awareness about the local Pratt & Whitney plant and the deeper societal problems it represents. It is calling for a moratorium in Buncombe County on any new projects that contribute to the military-industrial complex or to the climate change emergency.
Ken Jones, an organizer of the demonstration, said: “We are here on Earth Day right beside the beautiful French Broad River to say we want to protect our Mother Earth by converting our economy, which is based on war and fossil fuels, to one that addresses the climate emergency. Pratt & Whitney should be making windmills, not war machines; high speed rail systems, not jet engines, solar panels not more carbon emissions. We need well-paying jobs, but workers should be producing machines that protect – rather than destroy – life on this planet.”