“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now, that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Year after year, on Martin Luther King Day, Americans are inundated with an innocuous, whitewashed version of Dr. King, devoid of all revolutionary ideas and full of platitudes about the power of love. Pop culture reduces Dr. King’s legacy to the level of a McDonald’s commercial: “Lovin’ beats hatin’,” we’re told, as Dr. King’s calls for economic justice are swept under the rug.
But in 2015, workers in the Fight for $15 are carrying forward the struggle for economic justice. Fast food, retail, home care, and other underpaid workers are demanding a decent wage and the right to form a union without retaliation. Workers in the Fight for $15 proudly walk in the footsteps of the striking sanitation workers of Memphis, with whom Dr. King spent his final day.
And workers in the Fight for 15 have also been on the front lines of the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement, demanding an end to racist police violence. This year, as we honor Dr. King, we uphold the memory of Dontre Hamilton, who was killed in April by Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney. Dontre’s birthday is the day after Martin Luther King Day. Please join the Coalition For Justice at the 14th Annual Martin L. King Jr. Birthday Celebration.