Today, on the 43th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people across the nation are joining together with the movement, We are One, to take a stand against well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians who are trying to take away the rights of the middle class.
In a conference call,Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, states the challenges we face on April 4, 2011 are very similar to those that Dr. King faced in 1968.
"We are One, grew organically from the attacks on collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin, Ohio and other states," he said. "It's a diverse coalition of local, state and national community leaders, working people, activist and individuals coming together to push back and show unity in the face of these attacks."
Henderson doesn't believe the welfare of others is a concern for many politicians in the United States. "Politicians are putting an unconsciously high price on human dignity, Henderson said. He believes they seek to terminate collective bargaining and curtail voting rights for students, the elderly voters and latinos through the passage of new voter ID requirements.
Many people's right to participate in our democracy is being affected by voter ID laws. "This will disenfranchise millions of Americans who don't have a government issued photo ID and in some case it's impossible for them to get one," Lindsay McCluskey, president of the United States Students Association said.
Also, Henderson states, politicians are "wrecklessly pursuing the privatization of essential public services and eliminating programs that provide pathways to opportunities for all."
One of those programs that would be smashed is Planned Parenthood. Congresswoman, Gwen Moore (D-WI), believes programs like Planned Parenthood lead the nation in providing reproductive health care. According to Moore, millions of women who are at risk for cervical cancer and breast cancer rely on Planned Parenthood for performing their annual exams. Henderson and Moore both believe women will be hurt the most because a large number of them belong to unions and a number of women rely on government programs to help provide food, shelter and education opportunities for their families. "We must stand-up in the name and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and fight back," Moore said.
The President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, focuses on the budget cuts towards education."Today we remember where King was and what he was fighting for. Dr. King fought for civil rights, economic opportunity and educational opportunity, and that's what we are fighting for today—not budget issues," Weingarten said. "We should not use collective bargaining as a voice to decrease the quality of educational services."
In honor of King and to bring awareness to the issues, We are One hosted events all over the nation today. Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America states, people were encouraged to participate in community rallies by wearing red shirts and leaving work or class early. "We understand our democracy is on the line and we encourage you to take action."