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January 20, 2003: The national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was celebrated in Sacramento with a march from the Oak Park Community Center to the west steps of the State Capitol, where a memorial to Dr. King took place. To prepare for this event, I checked the Internet and came upon an account of MLK's partipation in the Sanitation Workers' strike in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968. That was where and when MLK was assassinated, but before this tragic event occurred, he made an eloquent speech on behalf of black workers striking for union representation (and accompanying issues) with the city of Memphis. In this "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech he said:

"And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence."

The MLK march in Sacramento took place during a time when war with Iraq seems imminent. A diverse group of people participated, finding wisdom on a variety of subjects in Dr. King's words. There were Buddhists here, people from the anti-war movement, the NAACP, Labor unions, someone advocating alternative energy, students, and many more. Since Woods and I are in Unions, we focused on Labor,, but we enlarged our vision to some other groups, too.


  The "100 Black Men,Inc." idea originated in New York in 1963, and its goal was to enable the advancement of African Americans. The founders wanted to pool their resources to improve the quality of life for blacks and ensure the future of their communities by focusing on youth development. The Sacramento chapter of "100 Black Men,Inc." was founded in 1986, and has committees for mentoring youth, chaplaincy, health and wellness, economic development and various other community-enhancing projects. We had not known of this organization before the MLK march, but we learned!



Jeannie Keltner, (left),an editor of the progressive newsletter Because People Matter, carrying a banner bearing a quote from MLK's "Beyond Viet Nam" speech. MLK spoke out eloquently against that war in words that continue to be applicable.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."--MLK, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?", 1967.



SEIU Local 1000 (state employees) commemorating MLK's birthday by marching with these admirable ideas on their banner.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." --MLK


  Ulysses Madison, member of SEIU Local 790, the public sector workers union. "The legacy and dreams of MLK will only be realized if those of us that are here now participate in public events such as this."


  An anti-war contingent of the MLK march as it moves up Freeport Blvd.
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