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‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters In Philly Plan #ReclaimMLK Day March for Justice, Jobs & Education
Thousands of people, from a broad based coalition, will march on MLK Day Monday January 19th starting at 1:30pm. The protestors are demanding an end to “Stop & Frisk,” an increase in minimum wage, and a full funding formula for schools.
10,000 Expected at #ReclaimMLK Day Rally & March In Philadelphia
PRLog – Jan. 5, 2015 – PHILADELPHIA — While most people enjoyed the holiday season with family and friends, a coalition of area organizations spent the time meeting and planning for what they hope will be Philadelphia’s largest public demonstration since the controversial grand jury decisions in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island, NY. The coalition calls itself “MLK D.A.R.E” (MLK Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) and is made up of faith leaders, labor unions, parent groups, college and high school students, and grassroots activist organizations. At least 10,000 demonstrators are expected to take to the streets on the Martin Luther King Day Holiday, Monday January 19th, at 1:30pm starting at School District Headquarters located at 440 N. Broad Street. The march will depart from 440 N. Broad at 2pm, travel to City Hall, and continue to 6th and Market Streets where a concluding rally will take place at Independence Mall beginning at 3:30pm. March participants are being asked to bring gift cards for homeless men and women participating in the annual MLK Day feeding at City Hall.
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition was born out of the Black Lives Matter protests in Philadelphia. Members of more than 2-dozen organizations wanted to do more than just march and “die-in,” so they started talking about how they could collaborate, and use their collective voices to effect change. The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition formed and they came up with a list of demands that center around justice, jobs, and education. They are calling for: an end to the use of “Stop and Frisk” and an Independent Police Review Board that is fully empowered and funded; a $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to form unions; and a fully funded, democratically controlled local school system.
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition’s primary focus is racial justice, echoing the clarion call for change after events in Ferguson, MO sparked a national dialogue about race. The coalition believes that to truly honor the memory of Dr. King they must ‘reclaim’ the spirit and tenacity of the slain Civil Rights leader. “This march is a continuation of the efforts of Dr. King and others who fought for racial justice,” says Bishop Dwayne Royster, pastor of Living Water United Church of Christ and the Executive Director of POWER (www.powerphiladelphia.org). “While a day of service, and giving back is a good thing, we need to take it a step further by taking action and demanding change.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition believes Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty, and should be a beacon to the country for ensuring the rights of all people are guaranteed regardless of their skin color. But the promise of America, drafted here by its founding fathers, has not yet been fulfilled and neither has the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Here in Philadelphia and from shore to shore, a black child is likely to be poorer, go to worse-funded schools, and more likely to go to jail than his white brother,” says Leslie MacFadyen, founder of the locally based Ferguson National Response Network. “We are called to follow in King’s footsteps this year as we march in his legacy, and in the legacy of thousands of other men and women of his generation who stood up and said enough is enough.”
The coalition says our present-day injustices include underfunded schools. “Public schools have suffered the most from Governor Corbett’s cuts to education,” says Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “Pennsylvania, school districts with large populations of poor and minority students receive fewer education dollars than more affluent communities and this needs to change.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E” coalition says poverty is another type of systemic violence against African Americans. “Black workers are disproportionately represented in low wage jobs, which means we as a community cannot meet basic needs,” says Sarah Giskin from the group 15 Now Philly. “Because black lives matter, workers deserve at least $15 an hour.”
The “MLK D.A.R.E.” coalition planning meetings have been held at Mother Bethel AME Church located at South 6th and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia. “It’s only fitting that we open our doors in light of the role of the Black Church during the Civil Rights Movement,” says Mother Bethel’s Pastor Rev. Mark Tyler. “In Selma, Dr. King used our sister church, Brown Chapel AME because of its proximity to the Edmund Pettus Bridge.”
For more information on the #ReclaimMLK rally and march on Monday January 19, 2015, at 1:30pm find them on Facebook and Twitter by searching: #ReclaimMLK. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler of Tyler-Made Productions via email at Leslie@TylerMadePR.com or call (609) 247-2632.