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MLK Day March Brings Out 7,000 for Jobs, Justice and Education

By January 23, 2015January 15th, 2016No Comments

After just one month of planning and dreaming with allies across the city, the MLK D.A.R.E. (Day of Action, Resistance and Empowerment) was the largest demonstration in Philadelphia’s recent history and one of the largest nationwide this year in the effort to “Reclaim MLK”.

With three main demands and a powerful statement of principles guiding our steps, the nearly 50 members of the MLK D.A.R.E Coalition made history with this march – just the beginning of a new and transformative movement to unite the struggles towards racial and economic justice in the city, including that of Philadelphia public schools, low-wage workers, Philadelphia public schools, and the criminal justice system.

The march started at 440 N. Broad St, School District of Philadelphia headquarters, marking the importance of public education to racial equity. Severe funding cuts in the past few years have led to hemmoraging of basic resources in our schools, leaving children of color and the poor with increasingly diminishing opportunity. Pennsylvania public schools have also recently been found to have significant gaps in funding according to the racial makeup of each district, according to a study done by POWER leader David Mosenkis. After a program of speakers at 440, the march began and filled Center City streets until reaching its final destination at Independence Hall.

Check out “timelapse” footage of the march moving through Center City, courtesy of Media Mobilizing Project.

Our demands, decided democratically by nearly 50 endorsing congregations of the MLK D.A.R.E. coalition, are specific, actionable, and intended to lead to long-term systems change the reflect the inherent worth and value of Black lives in our city – and through that, all lives. The Coalition will continue to work together towards these demands and continue to re-evaluate what is necessary for racial justice in our city:

1) a fully funded, democratically elected public education system
2) $15/hr minimum wage and the right to form unions
3) an end to “Stop and Frisk” policing practices and an independent, fully empowered police review board

Philadelphians of all ages, races, faiths, and income levels flooded the streets to call for these changes, and together shared in an electrifying energy interconnectedness. Look at the slideshow below for images and voices from the march, pulled from the news media and social media alike.

So What Now? From the March to the Movement

As important as protest actions are, it doesn’t just take one march to change the systems that define our lives. The Coalition is now planning its next steps to move together the win on the marches demands and continue to push forward an agenda for racial justice in Philadelphia.  Click here to go for updates.