Mafgrl writes: Last night at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Downtown Los Angeles a very unique and inspiring event took place. Entitled “Voices of a People’s History of the United States”, the event sampled speeches, letters and more by the likes of Susan B. Anthony, abolishionist John Brown, Mark Twain and Cindy Sheehan. These excerpts read by many of Hollywood’s great actors and political advocates, including Viggo Mortensen(History of Violence), Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny), Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy), Josh Brolin (Into the Blue), Kerry Washington (Ray) and Danny Glover(Lethal Weapon). The material was both moving and funny in turn. One reading by Oh was written by a Japanese American woman who was removed from her home in San Pedro in 1941 and sent to a concentration camp during the war. Another piece told of a factory worker in Chicago who was one of the first women to organize unions in that state for better conditions and rights. A very moving rendition of Cindy Sheehan’s speech about her son being killed in the Iraq war and her subsequent trip to try to talk to President Bush in Crawford, Tx was given by Tomei.

Each of the readers for the evening was clearly passionate about the material both Mortensen and Vanessa Martinez (Lone Star) read their passages both in Spanish and English to the delight of the mixed crowd. Danny Glover had flown in from Florida and arrived midway through right off of the plane to participate. Mortensen made one of his now famous antiwar/anti Bush shirts which stated “Impeach, Remove, Jail”. He was still sporting the red and blue paint on his hands!

The panel was moderated by Howard Zinn who wrote the book that this reading was based on “A People’s History of the United States” and Anthony Arnove who is the writer of “Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions”.

It was very interesting and enjoyable to hear these words of many people in history who are not as famous and often overlooked for their views. If you have an opportunity to pick up a copy of Zinn’s book, please check it out, I think you will find it fascinating. [More]