On April 8, 2017 the Black Workers for Justice will hold its 34th annual banquet commemorating Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights and Black Freedom struggles. In light of the new administration of right wing populist and white nationalist, Dr. King’s life and views on workers rights and imperialist war are as important as ever. As we have done over the last 35 years, we honor Dr. King in the context of his fight for the Memphis Sanitation workers and his assassination by the forces of capitalism.
“Today’s Challenge:Organizing Our Struggle on the Front Lines in the South for Peoples Power” is our theme this year. It means continuing the fight against HB2, voter suppression, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant policies and the rise of white supremacist groups like the KKK and similar groups.
Now more than ever, our work to build People’s Assemblies and the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA) is necessary and urgent.
The keynote speaker will be Fred Mason. Mason is a veteran Labor and Black Liberation Movement activist. Mason is the President of the Maryland/DC AFL-CIO. He will speak on the task of labor, the Black movement and allies in fighting for power on the front lines of today’s struggle.
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“On Sunday May 1, 2016, International Workers Day, ILWU Local 10 for the second consecutive year will be shutting down all Bay Area ports for 8 hours. This year we will commemorate a National Day of Mourning in memory of the Black and Brown lives that have been taken by racist police and vigilante killings across the country”
At the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet two individuals and two organizations were awarded the Black Workers for Justice’s Self-Determination Award. North Carolina based Muslims for Social Justice and Charleston’s Healthcare Workers United were the group recipients. The individual award went to two trade union activist. ILA Local 1422 activist Leonard Riley received an individual award. The second was awarded to Clarence Thomas a labor activist, member of ILWU Local 10 and longtime freedom fighter. Thomas was unable to attend but submitted this statement to share with the participants. Note his call for action on May Day. Continue reading
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.