[Guest post by Billy Parish]
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis 40 years ago, where he was assassinated, to help support the long struggle of the city's sanitation workers for decent jobs and dignity. He was also speaking out against the Vietnam War, organizing a Poor People's March on Washington, and crafting an Economic Bill of Rights, calling for massive government jobs programs to rebuild America's cities. In Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, the last book he released before he was killed, he wrote:
There is a need for a radical restructuring of the architecture of American society ... Our economy must become more person-centered than property-and profit-centered. ... Let us, therefore, not think of our movement as one that seeks to integrate the Negro into all the existing values of American society. Let us be those creative dissenters who call our beloved nation to a higher destiny.Today, the struggles for economic and racial justice must merge with the struggle to stop global warming. Its worst effects will be visited on the poor, and the great economic opportunity a clean energy future offers should be shared fairly with them. Equal protection and equal opportunity was what King demanded in the 1960s. We should be demanding the same today.
Cross-posted from Grist...
As Congress prepares a giant Economic Stimulus package -- up to $150 billion in emergency spending -- and George W. Bush suggests that it be more tax cuts for the rich, there is no better way to honor Dr. King's memory and continue his struggle than to demand that Congress offer stimulus that is green and economically just. Click here to send a message to your member of Congress:
In considering your economic stimulus package, please work to ensure that all proposed tax cuts and direct spending promote a clean energy economy and opportunities for poor and working class people. Through strategic investments in energy efficiency, mass transit and a Clean Energy Corps, we can not only avoid short-term recession, but also put hundreds of thousands of people to work and create a secure economic and environmental future for all Americans.An ad hoc group of leaders from Van Jones of Green for All to Gillian Caldwell from 1Sky to Joel Rogers from the Center for State Innovation and Jessy Tolkan from the Energy Action Coalition has been working to develop more forward-thinking ideas for stimulus and pressure key members of Congress to build them into the plan. They could use your support.
See also previous post: "Can MLK's Dream be Reborn in the Economic Stimulus Package?"