MLK March to show solidarity with immigrants, Black people

By Tyneisha Bowens

On Jan. 3 a coalition of anti-racist organizations and activists in New York City welcomed in the new year with a planning meeting for the Martin Luther King Jr. March Against Racism that took place at the Solidarity Center.

The MLK March Against Racism Coalition was formed this past Dec. 12 at an anti-racist meeting hosted by N.Y. FIST (Fight Imperialism—Stand Together) youth group and the International Action Center. This coalition was formed as an answer to the nationwide increase in racism.

January 21 will be nationally recognized as Martin Luther King Day, a progressive holiday fought for by Black people and anti-racist allies to honor Dr. King’s commitment to social justice.

Over the years, this day has been co-opted and commercialized by the ruling class. To the MLK March Against Racism Coalition the recent racist attacks on immigrants, Black youth, LGBT people of color and women clarified the need for people of color and anti-racist allies to reclaim Martin Luther King Day as a day of building unity and solidarity by taking to the streets.

A march in New York City, as well as other events around the country, will take place on Jan. 21. This march against racism will connect the attacks on all people of color including immigrants, Black folks, LGBT folks and women and staunchly criticize corporate-funded racists like Lou Dobbs of CNN and radio host Don Imus of the infamously racist network ABC.

Lou Dobbs has been spreading his racist anti-immigrant sentiment for years now through the supposedly liberal CNN. On his program he has falsely blamed immigrants for increased crime and disease in this country and has vocalized his support for murderous bigots like the Minutemen.

As a scapegoat for the economic crisis and victim of demonization campaigns the immigrant community has had to face racist legislation, deportations, physical assaults and detentions.

Last April Don Imus made racist and sexist remarks toward the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, including his reference to them as “nappy-headed hos.” Imus’ show was dropped after mass protest, but after only 9 months off the air Imus has been hired by ABC.

ABC has had a history of racist programming including the recent “Desperate Housewives” TV episode that portrayed Filipino health care workers as inferior to U.S. health care workers.

The Filipino community and their allies were outraged at such white supremacist implications. ABC offered employment opportunities to Filipino people but has yet to officially apologize for this particular episode.

“We don’t want jobs from them, we want an apology,” said Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN-USA during the Jan. 3rd coalition meeting.

For these reasons and more, the MLK March Against Racism will target CNN and ABC in New York where both Dobbs and Imus broadcast from.

The march will also bring attention to the housing struggle that is taking place from Harlem to New Orleans. Tenants, “homeowners” and community members are combating racist gentrification, foreclosures and demolitions.

As exemplified in New Orleans, the right to public housing is under attack and those who defend this right are being brutally silenced. To acknowledge the racism of these attacks on housing and to show solidarity with those facing evictions, demolitions, and foreclosures the coalition is planning for the Jan. 21 march to stop at a local housing development.

For more information about the MLK March Against Racism, visit http://www.troopsoutnow.org to endorse, volunteer, download leaflets and posters or call the Solidarity Center at 212-633-6646.

The writer is a leading organizer of FIST.

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