Public Employee Press
DC 37 remembers Martin Luther King Jr.
CANDLELIGHT illuminates faces of members participating Jan. 8 in
Political Action Committees annual commemoration of slain
civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who would have been
75 this year.
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
In the soft glow of a candlelit memorial, the flames of freedom were re-ignited
as more than 250 DC 37 members gathered Jan. 8 to commemorate the birthday
of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King died fighting for dignity for black sanitation workers
and we cannot take his sacrifice for granted, said DC 37 Executive
Director Lillian Roberts. He gave us the power to speak out when
others remained silent.
The event was sponsored by the DC 37 Political Action Committee to celebrate
the life of Dr. King, who would have turned 75 on Jan. 15, had he lived.
Dr. King was assassinated April 4, 1968 while in Memphis to support a
sanitation strike led by DC 37s national union, AFSCME. His nonviolent
battle for justice brought world attention to the plight of Blacks and
the poor. The Memphis garbage workers were bargaining for basic union
representation and long-overdue raises, which they eventually won along
with equal treatment and dignity on the job.
Dr. King forced America to look at itself honestly, said guest
speaker Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. His words of
brilliance overcame ignorance.
Mr. Markowitz compared the challenges overcome by the civil rights movement
to those working families face today: Economic inequality, the threat
of privatization and the Patriot Act, which cuts into basic civil liberties,
threaten to eliminate the freedoms Dr. King fought for, Mr. Markowitz
John Rainbow, a member of Local 1549, led the crowd in singing We
Shall Overcome, the spiritual that galvanized the movement. DC 37
members from 56 locals, their children and the presidents of Locals 372,
420, 957, 1070, 1113, 1320, 1407, 1549, 1655, and 2021 attended the unions
traditional candlelight vigil.
Dr. King forced America to uphold the ideals and promises of the Constitution.
Ms. Roberts said, The King legacy is an unforgettable part of our