Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

A LETTER TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

TODAY! Be there! At Worcester State University …

mlk-youth-breakfast-20171

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editor’s note: I’m re-posting this column written by ICT contributing writer Parlee Jones … – R.T.

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Parlee, center, and family

By Parlee Jones

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– MLK, Jr.

Dear Dr. King,

As we prepare to celebrate your 8[8]th birthday, and also, the 5[2]st Anniversary of the Selma marches, I thought I would write you a letter, to let you know what’s been going on.

I have been thinking a lot about the civil rights movement and the protests that have been happening since the no indictment verdicts came in Ferguson, Missouri, after the murder of Michael Brown and in the murder of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD.

Some people are asking, why are they protesting, what do they want? What do they think protesting and shutting down city streets will do?

My response: What did Dr. King and his supporters think a bus boycott would do? What did they think a 50-mile march would do?

The bus boycott lasted 381 days. For one year and 16 days Black people in Montgomery, Alabama, did not use public transportation! Needless to say, that hit the city in the pocket-book. City officials resisted a long time. Them good old boys did not want those Black folks in the front of their buses. Really!

“Initially, the demands did not include changing the segregation laws; rather, the group demanded courtesy, the hiring of black drivers, and a first-come, first-seated policy, with whites entering and filling seats from the front and African Americans from the rear.

Although African Americans represented at least 75 percent of Montgomery’s bus ridership, the city resisted complying with the demands. To ensure the boycott could be sustained, black leaders organized carpools, and the city’s African-American taxi drivers charged only 10 cents-the same price as bus fare-for African-American riders. Many black residents chose simply to walk to work and other destinations. Black leaders organized regular mass meetings to keep African-American residents mobilized around the boycott.”

This is so powerful!

And then Selma, 10 years later!

Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade discrimination in voting on the basis of race, efforts to register black voters met with fierce resistance in southern states such as Alabama .

In early 1965, you and SCLC decided to make Selma, located in Dallas County, Alabama, the focus of a voter registration campaign.

As you well know, Alabama Governor George Wallace was a notorious opponent of desegregation, and the local county sheriff in Dallas County had led a steadfast opposition to black voter registration drives. As a result, only 2 percent of Selma’s eligible black voters (300 out of 15,000) had managed to register.

You won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and you drew international attention to Selma during the eventful months that followed.

On February 18, white segregationists attacked a group of peaceful demonstrators in the nearby town of Marion. In the ensuing chaos, an Alabama state trooper fatally shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young African-American demonstrator. In response to Jackson’s death a massive protest march from Selma to the state capitol of Montgomery, 54 miles away was planned. A group of 600 people set out on Sunday, March 7, but didn’t get far before Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas rushed the group at the Edmund Pettis Bridge and beat them back to Selma. The brutal scene was captured on television, enraging many Americans and drawing civil rights and religious leaders of all faiths to Selma in protest.

You also led another attempt to march on March 9, but turned the marchers around when state troopers again blocked the road.

That night, a group of segregationists beat another protester, the young white minister James Reeb, to death.

Alabama state officials (led by Walllace) tried to prevent the march from going forward, but a U.S. district court judge ordered them to permit it. President Lyndon Johnson also backed the marchers, going on national television to pledge his support and lobby for passage of new voting rights legislation he was introducing in Congress.

Some 2,000 people set out from Selma on March 21, protected by U.S. Army troops and Alabama National Guard forces that Johnson had ordered under federal control.

After walking some 12 hours a day and sleeping in fields along the way, they reached Montgomery on March 25.

Nearly 50,000 supporters-black and white-met the marchers in Montgomery, where they gathered in front of the state capitol to hear you and other speakers including Ralph Bunche (winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize) address the crowd.

“No tide of racism can stop us,” you proclaimed from the building’s steps, as viewers from around the world watched the historic moment on television.

A movie based on the events of SELMA [was released last year]. Can’t wait to see it with my children, family, friends and their children. Because this is a piece of history from which we need to learn.

“We are faced with marches, protests and boycotts as we face the continued brutality of the police force against young people of color, who end up dead instead of in jail. Not only people of color, but the majority are.

We are developing a network of organizations and advocates to form a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the systemic pattern of anti-black law enforcement violence in the US. We are demanding, that the federal government discontinues it’s supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. We are advocating for a decrease in law-enforcement spending at the local, state and federal levels and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools. This money should be redirected to those federal departments charged with providing employment, housing and educational services.” www.BlackLivesMatter.com

Dr. King, the exposure of the injustices via the internet is world wide. It is so hurtful when these police officers are not found guilty of murder, when the murder took place in front of millions of people.

We are still striving to do this non-violently, but the blind are still so blind. We have our demands and are voting and trying to work through the system. A lot of our friends are still silent. We are trying to help our White allies understand their privilege. We are tired of burying our children. Things have improved since the 1950s and 1960s but, unfortunately, we still have a long way to go.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King! Your words still ring true in this day and time. We need your spirit with us, to help guide us, more than ever! Please stay near.

Peace and Blessings,

Parlee Jones

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Black lives matter! BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Political Trial 3 (1)
photo: 2015

editor’s note: I’ve made some paragraphs bold. – R.T.

A Bogus Trial of Retaliation

By Gordon Davis
 
The Kelley Square 4 BlackLives Matter protesters charged with disturbing the peace during the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day protest had their day in court today. It was pretty clear from the start of the trial that something unusually wrong was going on.

The trial judge prevented the defendants from having a jury trial. He said case law allowed him to change the nature of the case from criminal to civil.

In a criminal case the defendants can choose a jury trial. In a civil case the prosecution can choose not to have a jury trial. In either case, it can be inferred that the trial judge did not want to go through the hassle of a jury trial or he did not think that the charges rose to the level of criminality.

In a civil case, the prosecution only has to achieve the standard of “preponderance of evidence” and not the more difficult standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The prosecution witnesses were, in my opinion, not credible and perhaps racists.

The truck driver said he was five hours late for a delivery due to the four and one half minutes blocking of Kelley Square. He said this got him fired from his job. Another witness said that the driver’s firing had nothing to do with the Kelley Square demonstration.

A woman driver who encountered the demonstration testified to yelling out to the protesters you would not block me if my granddaughter was Black. This witness could recognize a photo that showed her car during the protest. 

Worcester Police Department supervisor, Sergeant  Maddox, said he would not have arrested anyone at the Kelley Square demonstration – as he did not see anything criminal taking place.

Police Officer Maddox said he did not start to write his report until two and one half months after the incident, when ordered to do so by his superiors.

Maddox then said his report was partially based on a police report written by Worcester Police Officer Brace who did not testify.

Two of the defendants, Julius Jones and Robert Gibbs, gave as a defense their compelling political need to protest the unjust killings of people, especially unarmed young Black men. Defendant Kevin Ksen also spoke of his political motivations and the fact that he did not block any traffic. Defendant Conner did not testify, but her attorney indicated that Officer Brace misidentified her and there was no evidence that she blocked traffic.

The Worcester city officials who initiated the charges against the defendants did not testify.

There is speculation that they brought charges in order to retaliate against and intimidate BlackLives Matter protesters and the Black community.

The judge said he will mail out his decision to the KS4 defendants. The maximum for a civil case of disturbing the peace is a fine of $150.

There were a good number of people who came out in support of the BlackLives Matter protesters. They expressed a sentiment that no matter what the judge rules, the protests would continue and they would not be intimidated.

A March Against Racism is being planned for this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 18, 2016 – at 12 Noon. 

The march will go from St. John’s Church on Temple Street to Kelley Square.

Main South: MLK, Jr., event at Clark U

Clark University to host panel discussion on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Clark University will host a panel discussion …

“Living the Revolution through Day to Day Struggle”

Monday, January 19

3 pm, in Tilton Hall, 2nd floor, Higgins University Center

950 Main St.

The Clark campus will come together to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., and the thousands of others who agitated on behalf of equal rights and justice during the 1960s and beyond, and to consider the urgent need for the sorts of social, political, and economic changes that have galvanized the nation toward mass mobilization these past few months.

The following individuals will participate in the event:

•Lakiyra ‘Oompa’ Williams, manager of student services at Breakthrough Greater (Boston) in Roxbury, Massachusetts;

•Steve O’Neil, organizer with Worcester-based E.P.O.C.H., an organization that advocates for the rights of incarcerated persons;

•Shara Smith, coordinator and movement director for the national organization Move to Amend;

•David Minasian, organizer/business representative for the New England Carpenters’ Union based in Worcester at Carpenters Local 107.

The discussion will address questions such as:

•What role should white activists play in the movement for racial justice?

•Do youth voices matter?

•How should institutions such as Clark respond to these issues?

•Is there a place for violence in social and political movements?

•How does the individual activist effectively challenge structural inequality?

The event is free and open to the public.

From the Worcester chapter of the NAACP … and President Obama speaking on Trayvon Martin’s death

President Barack Obama visits with Make-A-Wish child Suhail Zaveri, 14, from Anaheim, Calif., in the Oval Office, July 16, 2013. Accompanying Suhail are his parents Sandeep and Asmi Zaveri, and younger brother Arsh Zaveri. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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Greetings from the NAACP Worcester Unit #2058

We will be joining our brothers and sisters of the New England Area Conference (along with the NAACP all across out nation) in Washington DC this August 24th to celebrate the 50th Year Anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech and to demand that Congress restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


The round trip cost will be around $85.00/pp. We will be leaving around 10:00pm – 11:00pm, the evening OF Friday, Aug. 23rd and traveling all night. The rally is Saturday,Aug. 24th in the morning and we will be leaving at some point late in the afternoon. The full cost of the trip will have to be paid about 3 weeks in advance (light snack included). If we have 50 people prepaid three weeks in advance, we can be picked up in Worcester.
SPREAD THE WORD!

JOIN THE NAACP!

Join The Fight!
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MESSAGE FROM NAACP, NEW ENGLAND AREA

Greetings,

We learned at the NAACP National Convention that the planned 50th Celebration of the March on Washington, where Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his I Have A Dream speech, will have a new and urgent purpose. The NAACP is part of a group of organizations which is planning to combine the 50th Year Celebration with an imperative that Congress restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act. It is felt that no civil rights legislation has been as important as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and as reauthorized in 2006. Extending the full power of the right to vote has been the leverage point for all subsequent civil rights legislation. The Supreme Court’s decision to strike Sec. IV must now be rectified by Congress. We will now have a Mass Rally, demanding that Congress act without delay.

Even though the actual day of the 1963 March was on August 28th.the planned Rally will take place on Saturday, August 244, 2013 in Washington, DC. NEAC will join other State Conferences and arrange for several busses to journey to Washington for the Rally. We ask that you immediately communicate with the members of your Branch or organization about the Rally and urge their participation.

Trip Planning Underway


Within a few days, we will be able to provide a cost for the trip, but because time is so short, we ask that you communicate the yet to be defined plans so that potential participants can begin their planning. We expect that there will be several buses leaving from Massachusetts and New Hampshire — possibly one or several from the western part of MA, several from the greater Boston area, one from eastern MA, and one from NH. Of course, the actual number of busses will be determined by the demand. As was the case with the trip to Washington to observe the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Memorial, this will be a trip down, leaving the evening of Aug. 23rd, participation in the Rally on Aug. 24th, and return late afternoon on Aug.24th.

Please spread the word broadly so that our area sends significant numbers. Again, this is no longer just a commemorative Rally, but a Rally to demand that Congress restores the Voting Rights Act.