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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.
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 voice to effect change. The "MLK D.A.R.E." coalition formed and developed 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)
The "MLK D.A.R.E." coalition believes Philadelphia is the cradle of liberty, and should be a beacon to the country for ensuring that the rights of all people are guaranteed regardless of their skin color. "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. "Philadelphia's young people know that their public schools have suffered the most from Governor Corbett's cuts to public education," says Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. "They know that in Pennsylvania, school districts with large populations of poor and minority students receive fewer education dollars than more affluent communities. They recognize the injustice, and they've been hitting the streets and calling for change. The PFT and others will join them in that call on January 19."
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 Historic 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 fact, our founder Bishop Richard Allen opened these doors in 1817 for the first large scale, national demonstration of free African Americans."
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.
Page Updated Last on: Jan 08, 2015