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WEARE RUNNING WITH POLITICAL PURPOSE

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neil weareBy Patrick Lujan

Lawyer and former Guam Olympic runner Neil Weare is on Guam to launch his new endeavor called We the People Project, a non-profit organization trying to start a civil rights movement focusing on equal rights for Guam, CNMI, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Washington, D.C.

 The people of Guam have been part of the United States for more than 110 years yet we are treated with a second-class status. Thanks to the Insular Cases our rights are privileges extended by Congress rather than guaranteed by the Constitution. And we are not alone—4.7 million Americans lack equal rights and representation because they live in a U.S. Territory or the District of Columbia. Former Guam resident Neil Weare, a graduate of Southern High and Yale Law School, is working to achieve equal rights and representation through groundbreaking litigation challenging the idea that Congress has the power to turn the Constitution on and off in the U.S. territories at will. — from Weare’s promotional poster

 Education/Sports Accomplishments: Harry S. Truman Elementary, Piti Middle School, Oceanview High/Southern High, Lewis & Clark College (Conference Champion in cross country and 5k), Yale Law School.  2004 Olympian; 2003 SPG Gold 5k (only men’s track Gold for Guam ever), Silver 1500; multiple medals at Oceania and Micronesian Games.

GSPN: What inspired you to start a movement such as We the People Project?

Weare: I’ve always wanted to work towards addressing equal rights and representation for Guam.  I’m excited to use my skills and experience as a civil rights attorney to make a difference for the people of Guam and the residents of other territories and the District of Columbia.neil weare2

 GSPN: How confident are you in the democratic society that such a grass roots movement could actually produce froot?

Weare: We the People Project is doing things like impact litigation that have never been done before to advance the rights of the residents of U.S. territories.  If we all work together, I think the question of success is when, not if.

 GSPN: What has your experience as an Olympic runner can you reach back on for this project?

 Weare: I think it’s important to set big goals that lay just beyond the horizon of what most people think is possible.  And figuring out how to overcome the challenges that arise along the way is what keeps things interesting.

 GSPN: What is your short-term and long term goals for the Project?

 Weare: The overall goal is equal rights and representation for the residents of U.S. territories and DC.  Each day will be a step towards that goal, and I’m optimistic that if we work together we can get there a lot sooner than might be expected.

 GSPN: Finally, why are you doing this?

 Weare: I fundamentally believe that every American should have equal rights, wherever they live.  Anyone who thinks differently should take a look at the service and sacrifice of the Guam Guard in Afghanistan. Their story, and the story of others who have served, really helps motivate what we are doing.

For more information on the movement you can go to www.equalrightsnow.org or on facebook.com/wethepeopleproject

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