#ReclaimMLK: how protesters are pairing Martin Luther King, present issues

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

#ReclaimMLK: how protesters are pairing Martin Luther King, present issues.

NEW YORK – Tributes to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. were held around the United States on Monday as protests over the treatment of minorities by law enforcement rolled on across the country.

Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent months during demonstrations over police brutality: “Black lives matter.” In a pre-dawn rally in Oakland, California on Monday, about 40 people converged on the home of Mayor Libby Schaaf, calling for harsher punishment of police who use violence against civilians. The high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police in Ferguson, Mo.; New York; and elsewhere have ignited this new generation of demonstrators. A Gallup poll released Monday found that in the years the nation’s first African American president has been office, perceptions on race relations have worsened. Other protests were planned in major cities such as Dallas and New York, where the family of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a police chokehold, was set to lay a wreath on the Brooklyn street where two uniformed officers were ambushed in December by a gunman claiming to avenge Garner’s death.

King would find too familiar and would inspire impatience in him.” Jealous cited “the under-education” of too many children, and “the over-incarceration” of young men. In January 2008, when Obama came into office, 51% of respondents said they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the state of race relations, Gallup said.

King’s playbook of nonviolent resistance, with protesters seeking peaceful means to convey their anger at what they say is a culture of aggressive and violent policing of minority communities. He also singled out North Carolina, where, because restrictive laws enacted by the legislature, “the ugly ghost of voter suppression comes to life in a very forceful way.” Jealous also mentioned economic inequality, an issue King was shifting to at the time of his murder in 1968 and one President Barack Obama is expected to address in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. The sentiment resounded even at traditional events honoring King that were under way elsewhere, including a King commemoration at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where King once preached. “We all need to remember him this day because we still don’t have complete freedom,” said Kelly Pongee, 50, of Jonesboro, Georgia, who was among hundreds of people who waited for hours to attend the service. “Look at what they’re doing to the voting rights. This gulf between and haves and have-nots has widened, Jealous said. and remains an affront to what he called America’s destiny to be “the most perfect example of the unity and dignity of the human family that the world has ever known.” Though the number of African Americans in the upper middle class have quadrupled since King’s time, Jealous said, the percentage of blacks in poverty has stayed the same.

Meanwhile, hundreds of students, community members and lawmakers took the streets to march to remember King and his efforts in the fight for civil rights. The campaign to create a holiday for King began after the assassination, and in 1983 President Reagan signed the legislation designating the holiday into law. Jealous called on his listeners to do what he did years ago: Draw up a list of the things that upset them about the country or the world, pick at least one that they want to act on – and then get to it. He pointed to the example of Jotaka Eaddy, a 16-year-old worker at McDonald’s in Johnsonville, S.C. who decided one day she would work to end the death penalty for juveniles. Four people were arrested Sunday evening during a police-escorted march, and another four people were arrested during a largely peaceful demonstration Saturday.

In Philadelphia, protesters planned to assemble in front of the main offices of the Philadelphia public schools Monday afternoon for a “MLK Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment.” The MLK D.A.R.E. coalition posted a call to action essay on the website Medium.com. The group’s demands include “fully funded, democratically controlled schools,” a $15-an-hour minimum wage, and “a fully empowered, independent police review board.” “It is time to break the silence about what Dr.

Jealous urged those in the crowd ask themselves: “Have I done anything in this life to make the world better?” And, then, he said, “figure out what that one thing is,” and get about working for change. Civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds faces charges after that protest that could require her to help pay for the overtime police presence or even serve time in jail.

Levy-Pounds said Monday’s march is intended to be peaceful, and part of a national effort to talk about tough issues she says many are still facing today, like racial profiling and police brutality. “He talked about some of the issues with law enforcement and negative community police relations,” she said. “And he said it’s time for a change, it’s time we begin to respect the dignity of all people and to ensure that our laws are applied in a just, equal manner.” The St. We, the people, are the leaders we have waited for.” In Minnesota, 2,800 people signed up to attend a #ReclaimMLK march Monday in the wake of the fatal shooting of Marcus Golden by St. Medallion Award was presented to Jermaine Nakia Lee for his work with PowerHouse Project, a local program that helps gay and bisexual men living with or at risk of contracting AIDS.

William Lacy Clay Jr. (D-Mo.) spoke at Wellspring United Methodist Church, just blocks from where violent protests broke out after the grand jury decision not to charge the officer who killed Brown. Lee called on the audience, which included many people from churches, to “not allow our faith beliefs to interfere with our compassion” for those with AIDS. “Our black and brown children are quietly dying from this disease.” Golden drove his vehicle at the officers and left them “fearing for their lives.” Golden reportedly had a handgun within reach, but it remains unclear whether he had fired on the officers.

Butterfield (D-N.C.) said the group planned to push for broad changes, such as expanded police use of body cameras and independent investigations of fatal police shootings. She was honored for her life-long commitment to education, civil rights, social justice and ensuring that our children have an opportunity to achieve. She was at the march on Washington in 1963 with King, and went on to become the first African-American on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.

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