26th Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet

On Saturday April 4th, on the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, the Black Workers for Justice will hold its 26th Banquet in honor of Dr. King’s support for Labor. Killed while supporting striking Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Dr. King made clear to all the importance of Black Workers and the relationship of the Civil Rights Movement to the Labor Movement. The BWFJ, since its second banquet has held the event on or around this date to emphasize this relationship and not been overwhelmed by the corporate and feel good themes that surround his birthday celebrations.

This year’s banquet is being held at an amazing time in history. On the heels of the historic and unexpected election of a Black president, the most serious economic crisis to face capitalism since the 1929 depression has accelerated with fury. Two wars, foreclosures, massive layoffs, bank bailouts and state budget cuts provide the backdrop for the gathering of North Carolina labor activists and their allies. The theme is “State of Emergency” with a focus on: Jobs for Everyone; Moratorium on Foreclosures; No Evictions; Bail out the People, Not the Banks; End the Occupation of Palestine; and End the Unjust Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. In addition to its Self-Determination Awards, the organization will also join the launch of the Southern Agenda Campaign and the open letter to President Obama along with other Southern activists. The Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble will perform as will Spoken Word Artist Dasan Ahanu.

The keynote speaker will be Jaribu Hill, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Workers Center. Hill is a long time activist having worked for years in New York, New Jersey and Mississippi as organizer, health and safety activist, people’s lawyer and cultural worker. Her fiery speeches, brilliant legal work and powerful songs have made her an important and beloved member of the Southern movement for freedom and justice.

Jaribu founded the Southern Human Rights Organizers Network (SHRON) and was responsible for brining the 7th Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference to Durham in December of last year. Her tireless work in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on behalf of Gulf Coast residents gives her a perspective on the crossroads we find ourselves in.

For more information about the banquet or to purchase tickets, call 19198290957 or email: bwfj@earthlink.net.

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