Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Detroit Mobilizes For Annual MLK Day Rally & March, January 15

Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day Rally focuses on war

from the Michigan Citizen
Jan. 5, 2007

This year’s annual Detroit MLK Day Rally and March will place a special emphasis on the struggle to end the war in Iraq and the rising tide of racism in the United States.

The event, which will be organized for the fourth consecutive year, comes at a time when the majority of people in Detroit and throughout the country are looking for answers to the escalating conflicts overseas and the growing crises inside the country.

The passage of the anti-affirmative action proposal 2 on November 7 has illustrated the continuing scourge of institutional racism in the state of Michigan.

The peace movement must join in solidarity with the civil rights and immigrants rights movements to make a final onslaught against the triple social evils of pre-emptive war, institutional racism and anti-immigrant bigotry.

All throughout the nation the negative impact of the $2 trillion wars in the Middle-East and Afghanistan has hampered the ability of society to produce adequate jobs, economic opportunities, affordable housing, health care and quality education for everyone.

At the same time we look with horror at the police murders of Sean Bell in New York, a 92-year-old grandmother in Atlanta and a 16-year-old youth in Detroit.

This is taking place in conjunction with anti-immigrant raids by Homeland Security where thousands of people are being disappeared daily.

It’s time to fight back and build a multi-issued popular movement aimed at creating a better world within our lifetimes.

Highlights of Detroit’s commemoration of the federally designated holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday will include: Messages from City Councilwoman the Honorable JoAnn Watson, Maureen Taylor, Co-Chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Debbie Johnson, spokesperson for the Detroit Area Network on Reproductive Rights and a keynote address by columnist and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson.

Cultural presentations include a performance by the Mosaic Youth Theater, the Ann Arbor Trail Marching Band, essays and art work displayed by Detroit area students and puppets designed by the Matrix Theater.

A “Detroit MLK Spirit of Detroit Award” will be presented to Bishop Thomas Gumbleton for his tireless work aimed at acquiring peace and social justice throughout the world.

Moreover, this year’s Detroit MLK Day Freedom March and Rally will provide a forum for people seeking outlets to express their desire for genuine democracy and peace.

People are encouraged to bring their own signs, literature and forms of expression that emphasize the need for a fundamental change in the present war policies implemented by the Bush administration and Congress.

For more information on this year’s Detroit MLK Day Rally and March just contact the numbers and web sites listed above.

Flyers for this event can be downloaded from the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) site at: www.mecawi.org

Abayomi Azikiwe,
Detroit MLK Committee
Detroit Dr. Martin Luther King Day Rally & March, January 15, 2007, Rally at Noon
Central United Methodist Church, Woodward at Adams

Editorial From the Arab American News, January 6-12, 2007

We should all have the same dream

Slavery is alive and well in America. It's not physical slavery which threatens us today but the shackles of the mind.

The Arab American community owes a great deal of its freedom to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is easy to take for granted the right to vote, the right to eat at any restaurant, the power to protest and boycott and challenge and fight.

Unfortunately, we in the Arab American community have not recognized this great man for what he has done. On the contrary, we have ignored the African American community, as well as other minority groups, at great cost. We have not sought to establish relationships with them. We only hurt ourselves when we don't reach out to others.

Why should we look to King for inspiration and establish alliances with the African American community? We complain of the erosion of our rights and forget that there are others more experienced in dealing with this problem.

King and his movement made it possible for minorities to not only question unjust laws but to confront the government and other institutions.

We too as Arabs and Muslims today constantly face racial profiling, government surveillance, stereotyping and outright prejudice. Part of the solution comes in recognizing and commemorating the significant historical struggles for equality and their resulting success stories.

Unfortunately, we as a community have not learned the importance of reaching out to others unless we see an immediate benefit. We fall over ourselves to work with whites yet at the same time point fingers at African Americans, calling them "abeed" (slaves).

Those who hurl ignorance and slurs at others should take note: when we point fingers at others, three fingers point back at ourselves.

The slavery of ignorance is far more dangerous than that of the body. Dr. King recognized this. He made the point that all of us have a place in this country and that none of us should consider ourselves superior to others because of our blood line or the color of our skin.

It is not easy to lead. One who is a shepherd is often alone against enemies. In the face of seemingly unconquerable odds, Dr. King was not only a leader: he transformed the political and social atmosphere of this country.

We should all feel that Martin Luther King Day, January 15, should be one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, especially within a community as embattled as Arab and Muslim America. But words are not enough. Action is what proves what we're made of. And that is why we need to embrace the true spirit of the day.

Unlike most holidays, the day in remembrance of the civil rights icon is traditionally celebrated through involvement in volunteer work. Observers around the country will take part in community service projects, marches, lectures, forums and prayer services. It is an opportunity to reflect, to reach out to others as we should every day.

Arab participation in these events means building bridges between ethnic communities, paying respect to defenders of civil and human rights and expressing solidarity with different struggles.

The Arab Student Union and the Muslim Student Association at the University of Michigan and Henry Ford Community College volunteer each year on a special Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Day. ADC Michigan holds a banquet each year in observance of the day, sponsoring an essay contest about the meaning of the day and awarding scholarships at the dinner. There are certainly other organizations that do similar events.

But we each need to feel this in our gut and in our heart, on an individual level. That is not happening yet.

It is in our own long term interests and those of this country to reach out to others and break the shackles of ignorance that unfortunately plague much of America today.

Let's reach out to our African American brothers and sisters on January 15 to celebrate together what Martin Luther King did for all of us.

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