Friday, January 16, 2015

Dear Michael,

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a radical. On MLK Day each year, politicians and the mainstream media sanitize his legacy so that we will forget how change really happens, but that’s the truth. Dr. King and his fellow civil rights leaders regularly asked 
everyday people to put themselves in danger, facing down armed police, angry white mobs, and public officials who told them to wait. Dr. King believed in taking action and used civil disobedience, boycotts and sit-ins to disrupt business as usual, facing not just public outcry, but police dogs, water hoses, and arrest.

Take action this weekend to #reclaimMLK.

In the months since Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner were brutally killed by police, we’ve seen a growing movement reclaim Dr. King’s real legacy.

These walk-outs, die-ins, and disruptive direct actions across the country are about more than police violence and a broken criminal justice system. The civil rights movement brought about enormous change in our society, yet our entire political and economic system remains rigged against Black Americans. Until we transform those systems, we’ll all continue to suffer. That’s why it’s crucial that we honor Dr. King’s radical legacy by continuing the fight for racial justice in our country.

Here’s how we at National People’s Action see the situation today:

Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by economic inequality. Despite the fact that the vast majority of poor people in the United State are White, poverty is characterized as a Black problem, racializing the issue and dividing the poor based on race.

Indeed, large corporations and the 1% rely on racism. Racism is a powerful tool used to justify growing inequality. Because racism is such a powerful force in our country, large corporations and the 1% can count on people to support policies that hurt all of us when they play the race card.

We cannot reverse the ever expanding economic inequality in our country without ending racism.[1]

The uprising against police violence and the growing Black Lives Matter movement can change the way America thinks about race and economic inequality, but only if we continue to take action.

Starting today, #ReclaimMLK actions will be taking place around the country. We urge you to visit to find and join an action near you. If you don’t see an action taking place in your area, consider leading one.

Every major advancement in our nation’s history happened because people like you and me made the decision to act. Thank you for making history.

NPA President Rev. Dr. Eugene Barnes and the NPA team

[1] Ned Resnikoff. “The Year in Inequality: Racial disparity can no longer be ignored.” December 16, 2014.

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