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We Are One - April 4 Call to Action: Carry on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King
We are One: April 4 Call to Action - Carry on the Legacy of Dr. King
Stand with Workers for Racial and Economic Justice!
On April 4, 2011, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), Jobs with Justice and allies are encouraging all to participate in a national day of action to defend the rights of working people.
Join union members, community activists, people of faith, students, youth, LGBTQ, civil rights, and immigrant rights allies to fight right-wing corporate politicians -- in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states -- who are trying to take away the freedom to bargain, to vote, and to afford a college education.
Originally called for by the AFL-CIO, A4 will be a day to show movement with actions, teach-ins, worksite discussions, vigils, faith events – a day to be creative, but clear: We are one - in resistance and struggle for justice. Visit www.we-r-1.org to find a local event, or add your own event to the growing list of activities.
The day of action will take place on April 4th because of the great historical significance of this date. On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME.
Exactly one year to the day before his murder, Dr. King delivered his revolutionary speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence”, condemning US military suppression of poor people across the world and calling for the triumph of social and economic justice over capitalist greed. In Dr. King’s words: “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered...A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies...A true revolution of values will soon look easily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” Today, Dr. King’s vision is still unrealized as workers in the south struggle to win collective bargaining rights for the first time, and as workers across the country fight to retain these rights. The regressive agenda to cut public services and to erode workers’ rights is part of a national frontal attack on the entire public sector throughout the country. It is a right-wing offensive that seeks to put anti-labor laws in place to erode fundamental rights to unionization and collective bargaining and to eliminate the life lines of public services and social programs that working class and poor communities heavily depend on throughout this country. Meanwhile federal military spending is soaring as the US continues its global wars in defense of its economic and political hegemony, and at the expense of people’s safety and rights to sovereignty from Libya to Afghanistan to Guam to Korea.
This attack on human rights is especially alarming for African Americans and people of color, as the public sector constitutes at least 30 percent of jobs for these communities. Workers' jobs, health plans and pensions are being slashed precisely at a time when our communities need them the most to survive waves of massive unemployment, housing foreclosures, public school closings, and gentrification. At the same time, without the right to quality public education and living wage work, the “poverty draft” which forces an already disproportionate number of young people of color into the military will continue to rise.
We must all take up the unfinished business and legacy of Dr. M. L. King. Once again we are in an escalated period of war both on our communities and around the world. It’s time to link the issues that Dr. King had the foresight to connect more than 40 years ago, and to act on his vision which still rings true today: “These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born....Now let us begin. Now let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world...The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.” GGJ is calling on its members to come together as a multi-racial multi-issue working-class alliance to choose to stand up against the war on the poor and working class in all its forms and to stand up for a revolution in values and policies that will prioritize racial and economic justice, sovereignty and democracy for all - not just for the wealthy.
Visit www.we-r-1.org to find a local event, or add your own event to the growing list of activities. Some ideas for action:
- Worksite actions. Recruit co-workers to carry out a worksite activity - wearing red shirts, ribbons, or stickers – and having a discussion about the attacks on working people at lunch break.
- Organize a teach-in or screening of “At the River I Stand”, which tells the story of the Memphis sanitation workers and Dr. King’s support of their struggle.
- Organize a mobilization or action that links current organizing or bargaining fights with the moment we are in.
- Organize a prayer vigil in front of a symbol that represents Dr. King’s vision of a better world.
- Organize discussions at churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples the weekend before April 4.
- Organize an action with students who are fighting budget battles around education and make link to attack on workers in the public sector.