Newsflash:
Campaigns Economic and Social Justice Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:03

Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice

Written by  Rev. Jesse Jackson | The Chicago Sun Times
An annual wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington takes place Monday. An annual wreath laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington takes place Monday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

As I went from event to event Monday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, I was struck by both the tribute and the distortion.

The tribute is remarkable. Martin Luther King held no public office. He amassed no great fortune. He led no victorious armies

He was arrested, harassed by the FBI, denounced and defiled. Yet today, we devote a holiday to his birth. Schoolchildren study his life and learn of his “dream.” No matter how much the culture seeks to domesticate him, the lessons are inescapable.

Standing up for justice is honorable. Racism is unacceptable. Nonviolence — challenging unjust laws and practices with nonviolent protest — is honorable. It is a testament to a confident country that we would so honor Dr. King.

But the distortion is real also. Martin Luther King grew revered once he was martyred, but he was the center of controversy when he was alive. Gallup polling showed that he grew more unpopular over the course of the 1960s. By 1968, a Harris poll showed that three-fourths of Americans and 55 percent of African Americans had negative views about him.

Why? King was always a drum major for justice. Without justice, he argued, there could be no peace. Nonviolence was not a prescription for acceptance or for passivity, but a demand for confronting injustice, for putting one’s body on the line to disrupt business as usual.

Americans rallied to the civil rights movement against segregation, stirred by the pictures of nonviolent protesters getting beaten by white sheriffs. But King was not satisfied with the end of legal apartheid or the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

He posed an economic challenge to America, decrying those who lived in poverty in a sea of affluence. He called for every person to have a right to a job, to a minimum income to health care — a floor beneath which no American could fall. And he alienated editorial writers, the president and his own allies when he spoke out forcefully against the Vietnam War in 1967. He was slurred as a traitor, denounced for speaking out about issues where he was not an expert, condemned for weakening the cause of African Americans.

On his last birthday, he was more unpopular than ever, but he would not stop marching for justice. He spent that birthday in planning meetings for a massive poor people’s campaign, bringing together leaders from across the country: whites from Appalachia, Latinos from the farm-workers, inner city blacks, religious and labor leaders. He planned a massive march on Washington, where the poor could camp in a Resurrection city of tents demanding action.

King wanted to be loved and respected, but that was not what drove him. What drove him was an unquenchable thirst for justice — and an unwillingness to accommodate to injustice.

We should remember not just how revered he is today, but how reviled he was before he died. He calls us to stand for what is right, even if it is neither popular nor expedient. That is a lesson that we should not let the holiday tribute obscure.

Original article on The Chicago Sun Times

Read 1787 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:09

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries in January.

Button-ShareTPPWithNewspaper

Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

Join our Twitter Storm

If you have a Twitter account you can help stop Fast Track on the TPP. Sign-in to your Twitter account and copy and paste the Tweets from our Twitter storm. Or you can copy your favorite Tweet and then click on the map and Tweet your legislator.

Twitter Storm Tweets for Tuesday, January 28th @ 9pm Eastern

Tweets for the special State of the Union Twitter Storm will be posted on January 28th at 8pm EST. Check back for the new Tweets.

Find Your Member of Congress

Click here to quickly find your member of Congress by putting in your home address. This site also features a one-click link to the same information in Spanish

ButtonFindElectedOfficials

Then call and ask them to oppose Fast Track on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Sample script is below.

Script

“I'm a constituent, and I am strongly opposed to my representative giving away Congress’ constitutional authority to control our trade policy. We send people to Congress to stand up for us, not give away their power to stop more American job offshoring and protect us from dangerous imported food that doesn’t meet our safety standards. This latest so-called trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would not only do that - but also ban Buy American and increase our medicine prices. That’s why it’s crucial that Congress not give away its authority to make sure every provision of TPP is in our interest before this massive deal can be signed. Good trade deals don’t need to be railroaded through Congress using Fast Track. I hope my representative will commit to opposing this outrageous legislation.”

Email Your Senators and Rep - Say No On Fast Track and TPP

Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.

Button-EmailYourRep2

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Sign the TPP Fast Track Petitions

MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track

Pulic Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority

MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership

CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab

 

Hand Deliver a Letter to your Senators or Representative on the TPP

If your Senator(s) and/or Representative is not currently opposed to Fast Track, they may not completely understand all the implications. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

Button-HandDeliver

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Flush the TPP

Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Visit Flush the TPP for calling scripts and links to Members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Flush the TPP