The I Am 2018 event in Memphis, TN began on Monday, April 2nd and culminated on Wednesday, April 4th. Labor folks, faith based folks and community folks came from near and far to answer the call to action for racial and economic justice. Most of the events were held at the world headquarters of C.O.G.I.C. where Dr. King gave his ‘Mountaintop Speech’ the night before his assassination.
On Monday, there were speakers and panel discussions. The first panel discussion topic was ‘The Legacy and Significance of King’s Political Philosophy Today’, the second was Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Social Gospel, Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice Reform and closing out with Bettering Lives of Minority Families: Education Minority Youth and Strengthening Family Structures.
On Tuesday, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Bill Lucy spoke along with the 1968 Striking Sanitation Workers, the Labor and Faith Communities Fighting for Social Justice Together and a Youth Town Hall was held. The evening program I Am 2018 Mountaintop Speech Commemoration had speakers, singing and inspirational reflections from Berniece and Martin Luther King III.
On Wednesday, everyone gathered for a rally in front of AFSCME Local 1733. Many international unions were represented. IP Stephenson was there representing the IBEW along with IEC Chairman Chris Erikson, BM of IBEW Local 3, IVPs from District 6, 8, 10 and 11. IBEW Civic & Community Engagement Dept. Dir. Carolyn Williams and IR Rachel Bryant attended the three day event and IBEW LU 11 BM/FS Marvin Kropke was also in attendance. EWMC President Emeritus Robbie Sparks attended the three day event as well.
At the rally prior to the march, Rev. Dr. William Barber II shared some very inspiring remarks noting that Dr. King’s message of delivering economic justice was all inclusive. Rev. Barber emphasized that we dishonor Dr. King by only remembering him and not doing the work that Dr. King started. Common closed out the rally with word and songs of faith, hope and promise for the future.
There was also a message from various speakers to not only register to vote but encourage others to register. Provide factual information to educate voters and support voter turnout. There was also a call to get involved in the political process. Never tell anyone how to vote, provide educational material. Thoroughly vet candidates, ask uncomfortable questions. Your future is in your hands.
I know some say there is cheating. Some say my vote won’t count. I say if you don’t ask the question the answer is already NO!