Civil Rights, Labor Leaders Lead ‘We Are One’ Protests

4/5/2011 King Center News

Atlanta, GA  – On April 4, 2011, the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of his father, Martin Luther King III helped to lead nation-wide ‘We Are One’ demonstrations against initiatives to eliminate and undermine collective bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin and other states.

Pictured at right, King and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Davis (far right), along with Ms. Andrea Young, Executive Director of the Andrew Young Foundation and Mr. Charlie Flemming, President of the North Georgia-Atlanta Labor Council led a mass march from Dr. and Mrs. King’s crypt to the Georgia State Capitol.

Mr. King, Ms. Davis and Mr. Flemming spoke to a crowd of supporters at a mass rally at the Georgia State Capitol. Mr. King urged all Americans of good will to “defend the collective bargaining rights of teachers, bus drivers, police, firefighters and other public service workers, who educate, protect and serve our children and families.”

In all, 1,200 ‘We Are One’ events were organized across the country, coinciding with the 43rd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis. Energetic crowds turned out in cities as diverse as Detroit, Pocatello (ID), New York, Fresno, Honolulu, Tampa and, Portland, as well as Atlanta and Memphis to name just a few.

In affirming his support for the movement to unite workers of all races in a coalition for social and economic justice, King later wrote of the ‘We Are One’ demonstrations: “Like my father, I believe that working people of all races share a vision. It is a vision of decent wages and working conditions, a vision of multi-racial unity and mutual progress, a vision of hope and opportunity for all. It is a vision the American labor movement and people of color have shared for generations, and it is the basis for a new coalition of conscience that will turn the struggles of today into the triumphs of tomorrow.”