April 4: We Are One
Most Americans remember the date April 4 as the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a day of commemorating the courage, vision and contributions of one of America's greatest leaders. It is a measure of King's legacy that he is honored in observance programs across the nation, not only on his birthday, a national holiday, but also on the anniversary of his death.
The 2011 anniversary of MLK's death, however, will have added poignancy, since it will be observed in the context of the historic protest demonstrations in Madison resisting the attack on public workers' collective bargaining rights. King was martyred in 1968 while leading a protest campaign supporting the rights of striking sanitation workers in Memphis. When the new monument honoring Dr. King is unveiled at the Great Mall in Washington, D.C. this summer, America will have our first major memorial honoring a leader of the struggle for worker rights, as well as for racial equality.
Organized labor will mark the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King with a mass mobilization, including rallies, marches and other activities to defend workers' rights in cities and towns across the nation. For a partial listing of events (more being added continually) check here, and for assistance with event ideas and resources, click here. (Facebook page here)
In addition to labor unions, the 'We Are One' MLK commemorations are expected to draw a significant turnout of African Americans and students, because both have been targeted by GOP disenfranchisement campaigns. April 4 could well mark a rekindling of King's 'Coalition of Conscience,' a new 21st century movement for social and economic justice.
For an inspiring and informative read on the topic of MLK and worker rights leading up to April 4, you can't do much better than "All Labor Has Dignity," a new collection of King's writings, edited by Michael Honey.
Mark it on your calendar, Monday, April 4th -- We Are One.