MLK Sought Equity for all Communities of Color

The late Martin Luther King Jr.’s values were consistent with MEDA’s five core values, especially that of fairness and equity, which the organization defines as follows:

We value equity and fairness in how we work together, in our relations with our community and in the society we aim to help create. Our efforts toward fairness and equity empower our community to thrive.

As we take time this three-day weekend to ponder the legacy of Dr. King, it should be remembered that the inspirational civil rights leader was fighting for justice for all disenfranchised communities of color, including Latinos. This year marks the 54th anniversary of the nonviolent civil rights marches in Alabama — covering 50+ miles heading eastward from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery — that helped spur the passage of the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. Ending endemic voter discrimination in communities of color was one of the movement’s major achievements.

The game-changing farmworkers’ protests, led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, followed this social-change model of non-violence, and Dr. King provided emotional and public relations support to the Latino Civil Rights Movement. For example, During Chavez’ winter 1968 water-only, 25-day fast — offered as penance for the violence perpetrated against farmworkers who were part of a union strike in protest of deplorable work conditions — Dr. King telegrammed the Latino civil rights leader the following words of encouragement:

Your past and present commitment is eloquent testimony to the constructive power of nonviolent action.

Dr., King’s inspiration can still be drawn upon today, as the fight for economic and social justice continues. As he wrote to Chavez in the mid-1960s, “Our separate struggles are really one — a struggle for freedom, for dignity and for humanity.”

MLK Day 2019 Jan. 21 events in San Francisco
Labor and community breakfast
When: 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
Where: Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission St.
What: Breakfast with speeches from from San Francisco’s labor union members, plus political, civic and community leaders.

When 11 a.m.
Start: Caltrain Station, 4th and King streets
End: Yerba Buena Gardens, 750 Howard St.
What: Join the community for the Bay Area’s largest event: the annual parade/march. Many attendees will be arriving on the “Freedom Train” from the Peninsula.

Feature program: “We Are in this Together”
When: 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts, 700 Howard St.
What: Features a panel comprising a leading activist, actor, athlete and artist.

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