The Black Workers for Justice (BWFJ) will hold its 35th Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet on Sat April 7th at the NCAE building. As we approach the Banquet it is important to point out that Wednesday, April 4th, marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination as he stood in support of a Memphis City Workers Union strike and on the front lines of the struggle of Black workers in that city. The BWFJ held its first banquet 35 years ago as we joined the movement to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.
Joining the national and State of N.C. holiday efforts, BWFJ collected thousands of signatures on petitions, held worker speak outs and community meetings, mobilized for rallies, and distributed thousands of flyers at workplaces and in communities in NC. The first banquet was a fundraiser to help get transportation for workers to attend the 1983 national march in support of the holiday.
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Kings last and final stand with Black workers and our people’s struggle, it is an important time to analyze the period we face as an oppressed people and as part of the working class with a special history in a system that’s denying us a living wage of $15/hr and pushing us deeper into endless war, as we experience an affordable housing crisis with our communities rapidly becoming gentrified. Our ability to advocate for ourselves is hampered by a denial of workers’ rights and collective bargaining rights for public employees.
We are urging all workers on their jobs this April 4th to wear Black, hold 5-10 minute prayers, do an informational picket before going into work, or take some other action to commemorate Dr. King’s last stand with workers.
Recent interviews with Memphis Sanitation worker activists reveal that they are still struggling for safe working conditions and treatment that reflects the historic slogan “I am a Man.” They are fighting to bring their pay and benefits in line with other Memphis City employees.
Today’s new “Poor People’s Campaign”(representing the 50th Anniversary of the original Poor People’s Campaign actions and march organized by Dr. King) must have a strong presence of the working-class especially from the South. Here in North Carolina we must work hard to mobilize this presence. A strong presence of workers of color and white workers would be a powerful statement against racist white nationalism that’s producing the “white supremacist shock troops” for the preservation and continued exploitation & oppression of this capitalist system.
We are calling upon workers and supporters of the labor movement to attend our 35th Annual Martin Luther King Support for Labor Banquet. Our Annual Awards Self-Determination Awards will go to three activists with a special award for Legal Advocates. The event will begin at 5:30 PM. For more information contact: 919 876-7187