Photo: MEDA’s Andrea Gomez holds an inspirational MLK quote.
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 55th 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.”