Monday, January 18, 2016

Honoring MLK with Action

He is revered for his moral campaign against racial segregation, but the Rev. Martin Luther King also led protests for economic justice and living wages, especially in what turned out to be the last part of his life.  It was at the time one of those protests that he was assassinated.

On Martin Luther King Day 2016, Black Lives Matter protested in San Francisco, and several prominent black film artists announced they would boycott the Oscars, protesting the zero nominations for the second year in a row.  But below the radar, so to speak, there were protests at several US airports that were also in the spirit of Martin Luther King.

They were by airport workers protesting low wages, and advocating the $15 an hour federal minimum wage that President Obama has proposed.  The protests were held at 10 or more airports, including Miami, Chicago, Boston (where there were arrests), Newark, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle.

The wealth of a larger number of wealthy is extreme, especially in comparison to MLK's lifetime.  There is perhaps less dire poverty in America than in the 1960s.  But the relentless struggles of a large number of working poor form a scandal of our time.  Masked by economic indicators that usually only indicate how well the rich are doing, this is our prime area of invisible plight.

These protests shine a light. As time goes on without action, they should grow.  Is there any doubt that Martin Luther King would be saying so?  

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