For Immediate Release: January 4, 2011
Contact: Tony Murphy 347-602-1584 / Larry Holmes 917-825-2302
There are always plenty of justice-themed events on the observance of Martin Luther King's birthday. This year, the day will see more street protest, as layoffs continue and the Occupy movement continues to grow.
From Occupy the Dream to Occupy 4 Jobs to Occupy the Fed, January 16th promises to be a dynamic day of demonstrations.
With millions on the brink of losing unemployment benefits, the issue of jobs is emerging as the main focus of MLK Day activities.
This is a natural progression, as it was the four-year unemployment crisis that fueled the explosion of the Occupy movement.
The main slogan of King's campaign when he was assassinated was "Jobs or Income Now." In fact, that campaign — the Poor Peoples Campaign — included an encampment in the shadow of the White House. It was shut down by police, much like the Occupy encampments.
As the epicenter of OWS, on January 16 New York will see full day of protest activity. The morning will start with a protest at the African Burial Ground that calls attention to banks that profited from the slave trade. Then there will be a protest at the Federal Reserve. At 1 PM will be the occupation for a public works program at Union Square, called by Occupy 4 Jobs, a group whose members include activists with the OWS Jobless Working Group.
Like King, Occupy 4 Jobs is calling for jobs or income — through a massive WPA-style public works program that can put people to work as well as provide essential services.
The issue of jobs is the focus of other King Day protests around the country.
In Newark, NJ, the Peoples Organization for Progress (POP) is having a demonstration on January 15, King's actual birthday. Also calling for a public works program, POP is widely known in Newark for its daily honk-if-you-want-jobs protest, now approaching its 200th day.
In Boston, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO is backing the January 14 "MLK Rally 4 Jobs and Services," which will oppose the Post Office layoffs.
And in Baltimore, activists with Occupy 4 Jobs will echo King's Poor Peoples March by embarking on a weekend-long march from the Union Baptist Church to Occupy DC, with some marchers then staying for the January 17 "Occupy Congress" action.