"On April 4, 1968, Dr. King was senselessly and cowardly assassinated. His murder silenced a man but gave new life and voice to the civil rights movement." – Colmon Eldridge, Young Democrats of America
On this day in 1968 tragedy struck our country as the great civil rights leader was struck down in a senseless act of hate. The attack on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. occurred "just one day after speaking in solidarity to 1300 African American Memphis Sanitation Workers who were striking against discrimination, poor working conditions, and poor wages. His work on behalf of the sanitation workers along with AFSCME was in his estimation a continuation of the civil rights movement and the struggle for both racial equality and the equality of quality of life."
At their core, all civil rights – women’s rights, workers rights, LGBT rights, or the rights of minorities – are linked to the basic belief that our Founding Fathers espoused in the Declaration of Independence that indeed, all people are created equal. While America has made great strides since April 4, 1968, there is still much work left to be done.
But today America is on the precipice of being set back decades. Republican governors and lawmakers across the country have launched a full on assault against collective bargaining under the guise of balancing state budgets, and GOP Representatives in the House – who campaigned on a pledge to focus on job creation – have spent their first four months in office trying to chip away at women’s rights and reproductive health, among many other programs that help make America stronger.
Several weeks ago, I was out on the Boston Common with men and women from across the Commonwealth who were determined to send Scott Brown a message: protect funding for Title X and Planned Parenthood. The march was scheduled at the same time labor supporters were rallying outside the State House sending a message of solidarity to the workers of Wisconsin. It was inspiring, at the end, to see both groups coalesce in chants of solidarity for the rights of women and workers. It was a sight I suspect would make the late Dr. King proud.
As Democrats, as people who believe in the basic truth that all people should be treated equally under the law, as people who believe that our government can life people up, it is our moral obligation to speak out and fight back in solidarity.
Today, Democrats, union members, people of faith, and civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies are joining with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the freedom to bargain, to vote, to afford a college education and justice for all workers, immigrant and native-born.
I hope that you will take a look at http://www.we-r-1.org/ to learn more about this fight, and be sure to sign-up for updates from YDM to learn how you can be a part of our movement year-round.
Kevin B. Gilnack
Young Democrats of Massachusetts