On The 43rd Anniversary of MLK’s Assassination, March in His Name Today for Workers’ Rights
And it’s happening today, starting at the City Hall at 5:00 p.m. with a candlelight vigil, and ending up at the Capitol Square on the State Street side after work. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Michelle Shocked, Michael Franti and other witnesses to the civil rights struggle will be speaking, performing and in attendance during the We Are One-April 4 commemoration, sponsored by AFSCME and other progressive groups.
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.
Beginning with worship services over the April 1 weekend, and continuing through the week of April 4, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community- and workplace-focused actions.
Join us in solidarity 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. It’s a day to show movement. Teach-ins. Vigils. Faith events. A day to be creative, but clear: We are one.
Over one thousand events will occur around the country in commemoration of Dr. King, who became more than a single issue advocate. In a way, this is yet another information event about the impact of the Republican agenda on the poor, the working class, and the middle class, and to get people energized and voting.
It’s no accident that the Wisconsin election is tomorrow, and frankly, it has now turned into a national referendum on the Republican-Tea Party agenda with out-of-state supporters of JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser pouring money into their respective coffers. If Kloppenburg wins, there will be a curb on the antics of the Walker-Fitzgeralds troika and more emphasis on the rule of law. If Prosser wins, as he has said before, he will support the Walker agenda for Wisconsin, and he will not recuse himself from cases regarding workers’ rights or collective bargaining. Prosser will be a disaster for the state’s recovery and for workers and workers’ rights.
I’ve seen the negative ads about Kloppenburg, and brother, are they bad: half-truths, words taken out of context (as in the “tough on crime” ad), and the appeal from Troy Merrifield, who had been raped by a priest, for Kloppenburg to tell her supporters to stop the ads running about how Prosser, as a DA, handled this case. The whole nine yards. Prosser whined several times during his debate with Kloppenburg about how his good name was being maligned in hindsight. One local news program called Reality Check examined this ad, and found, more or less, most of what the ad said was true, but it did not clarify certain details to show exactly what Prosser knew, did and did not do at the time. However, Prosser’s actions were what many law enforcement officials did when hearing about erring priests up to this time.
I can see why Kloppenburg refuses to get her hands dirty here; there would be a guilt-by-association label placed on her that she personally ordered such a thing. Plus, Merrifield and his family had previously castigated Prosser and his actions over the years. And now, he’s a Prosser advocate, saying that he’s being victimized? Please. No wonder a former governor publicly left Prosser’s campaign because of what he termed were an increasingly “disturbing distemper and lack of civility” in the incumbent justice. That nastiness is part and parcel what running with the Tea Party will do to individuals. Individuals who get out of control and hurl “bitch” at a state Supreme Court Chief Justice, and who promise to “destroy” her.
So march in King’s name tonight, and vote tomorrow for a better tomorrow, just as King would have wanted.