I AM 2018

WHEREAS, the AFL-CIO is the labor center for American workers and fights tirelessly for economic justice and civil, labor and human rights for workers across the world; and

WHEREAS, it is more important than ever in the current environment for labor to stand strong with all members of our community in the continuing fight for economic, social and racial justice; and

WHEREAS,April 4, 2018, marked 50 years since the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, where he was standing shoulder to shoulder with striking AFSCME-represented sanitation workers who were seeking dignity, respect, economic justice, and safe and humane working conditions; the sanitation workers’ slogan—“I Am a Man”—became the rallying cry for this workers’ movement; and

WHEREAS, much progress has been made during the past 50 years, but much more remains to be done—the struggle for justice inseparably binds the labor and civil rights movements; as Dr. King said to civil rights leaders: “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community”; and

WHEREAS, the 50th anniversary of the strike and Dr. King’s murder is more than a commemoration of a historical moment and the honoring of true American heroes; it is a sober reminder of the important work ahead of us. Indeed, the concentration of wealth and power that Dr. King identified as the driving force of injustice in its many forms is more severe today than at the time of his death; and,

WHEREAS, the revival of a “Poor Peoples’ Campaign” is not an indulgence in nostalgia, but an essential activity in the fight for justice for all workers and poor people from diverse backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, AFSA urged its affiliates and members to participate in April 2018, along with labor and our allies across the spectrum of social and economic justice movements to come together in Memphis to renew our commitment to Dr. King’s dream;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that AFSA stands in support of the “I AM 2018” activities and joins the labor movement in embracing the legacy of Dr. King and the responsibility it inspires to honor the strikers and commits to redoubling our efforts on behalf of all working people.