By Fran Roznowski and Lyn Meza
On January 15, as people gathered at Chelsea High School to memorialize Martin Luther King. Jr. on his birthday, members and supporters of Chelsea Uniting Against the War battled frigid temperatures with more than 100 other activists in the Martin Luther King (MLK) March for Justice called by Mass Action Against Police Brutality in the Boston African American community. The march went from Grove Hall in Dorchester to Dudley Station in Roxbury. The local Chelsea delegation also included several members of the Peoples Power Assembly-Queens who arrived from New York City to show their solidarity.
At a time when U.S. politicians in Washington are cutting essential social programs such as Medicare and Social Security while continuing to spend more money on the military budget and military recruiters continue to visit our high schools recruiting young people into the U.S. armed forces, it is good to think about Martin Luther King’s words from 1967 and their relevance for today: “I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism” … “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on the programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” (Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam,” 4/30/67)
Demands of the MLK March for Justice reflect the legacy of Martin Luther King in this Trump era:
- End racist and religious attacks!
- Stop mass incarceration and institutionalized racism!
- End the travel ban! Stop immigration raids and deportations!
- Raise the minimum wage to a living wage! Make housing affordable for all!
- Jail killer cops! Reopen cases of police brutality!
Carla Sheffield, the mother of Bo Ramsey-White, Hope Coleman, the mother of Terrence Coleman, both killed by Boston police, and Wayne Dozier, the grandfather of DJ Henry, killed by New York police in 2010, joined the marchers to protest the senseless murder of their children. The sister of Usaama Rahim, killed by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Roslindale on his way to work, was there as well.
One highlight of the day occurred at a reception following the march when Siham Byah, a young immigrant mother who was assaulted by the Revere police and was recently arrested by ICE- Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deported spoke via Skype, to the marchers from her parent’s home in Morocco. She thanked Mass Action Against Police Brutality and others for our support and asked for solidarity to “free” her 8 year from foster care so he can be reunited with her in Morocco.
To learn more about Chelsea Uniting Against the War, contact us on Facebook at ChelseaUnitingAgaisttheWar (note there is an there is an “n” missing), e-mail us at [email protected] or call 617-889-2841.