50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, his legacy of fighting for civil rights across identity lines holds many lessons and a great deal of promise for us in 2018. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in large scale organizing and fought for a civil rights movement based on the principles of solidarity. As such, he built strong relationships with Latinx civil rights leaders at the time including Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and worked up uplift the struggles of Puerto Ricans, visiting the island twice and speaking out on racial justice and the shared history of colonialism on the island and in the United States.
Gilberto Gerena Valentín, the then president of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, was recruited by
Martin Luther King Jr. to get the Latinx population to turn out for the March on Washington.
We can carry on King's dream of liberation for all people by continuing the tradition of solidarity organizing around issues of economic, racial and gender justice. Survivors of intimate and sexual violence are many identities. We are immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQ. We come in every skin color, all genders and all levels of ability. We are united in our shared fight for safety and dignity.
Mural in the heart of East Harlem honoring African American freedom fighters,
Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin and Colin Kaepernick.
For more on solidarity organizing check out this piece by Jamila Osman: Do Black Lives Matter in the Immigrant Rights Movement?