FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Daniel F. Levin
Phone: 917-328-3973

Ordinary New Yorkers get their own platform during Republican Convention

New York, NY, August 25, 2004 – With an estimated 48,000 delegates and alternates arriving in New York City, as well as thousands of protesters, who’s asking New Yorkers what they think?

The 95 Voices announces the unveiling on Wednesday, September 1st, of a 95-piece photo and words display across from the New York Public Library. In it, 95 New Yorkers get the chance to express their deepest concerns, and say what they’d like to see done about them.

“The party in power has chosen our city to discuss and vote on its platform,” says James Wen, co-conceiver of the 95 Voices. “This is fine, but when they come to New York, they should listen to what ordinary New Yorkers are concerned about. This is a city full of passionate, thoughtful people who deserve to be part of the debate.”

The project was inspired by the 95 Theses, which, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed to the Castle Church Door in Wittenberg, Germany--then used as a “bulletin board” of sorts for Wittenberg University. On the parchment, he listed 95 arguments against the practice of selling indulgences, or tickets into heaven. It was a powerful statement by an ordinary citizen to the powers-that-be. Nearly 500 years later, a new list of statements will be “posted” near another center of learning, the New York Public Library. This time, the statements will combine to form a tapestry of the hopes and dreams of New Yorkers—what they see as the greatest problems in their community and what, if they had the time and influence, they’d do about them.

“What we’re seeing is that, yes, New Yorkers are very concerned about security and terrorism, but this is only one part of a much larger picture,” says Daniel Frederick Levin, co-conceiver of the 95 Voices. “New Yorkers want their kids taken care of, after-school programs and teacher/parent contracts, civil rights protections, more jobs, less pollution, affordable housing or just more ferry service. They want respect for a diverse community of people--something they know better than anyone else.”

Politicians may own the stage at Madison Square Garden during the Convention. But for one afternoon and evening, ordinary citizens will have a stage of their own. For those hours, their voices will be heard along side those of the politicians and pundits. The original 95 Theses set off a debate that changed the entire course of history. Says Mr. Levin, “We’re just hoping to begin a new discussion.”

UNVEILING CEREMONY______________________________________________________
Wednesday, Sept. 1, 6:00pm: 5th Ave. at 42nd Street, Manhattan, Across from the NY Public Library
Set up takes place from 4pm on. Many of the 95 Voices themselves will be on hand and available for interviews