The Fierce Urgency of NOW – Applying Rev. Dr. MLK

“The Fierce Urgency of Now” has been the theme of the AFL-CIO’s 2019 Martin Luther King Conference.  On this Monday in January, we celebrate and remember the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Today in our country we face extraordinary circumstances, where so much political rhetoric strive to drive division between workers along the lines of demography; separating black workers from white workers, immigrants from citizens, and women from men.

Today, let us all remember that we do not need to be afraid of equality, we should embrace it.  Do not fall into the trap of the misleading rhetoric of division; equality does not mean stripping rights from one group to give to another, equality is lifting all of our brothers and sisters up so that basic rights, access to resources, and a voice in our society are no longer considered privileges, but are now universal realities.

As with so many other markings of MLK Day, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO encourages all our union brothers and sisters to embrace community service.  And now, as the government shutdown reaches toward an entire month, as our federal worker and subcontractor brothers and sisters face the loss of a second paycheck, there is no more imperative time to give back.  In Pennsylvania, as many as 15,000 families risk financial insecurity. 

Across the country, more than 800,000 families are being held hostage because of the political rhetoric of hate.  Over 470,000 workers are being forced to go to work knowing they will not receive a paycheck.  330,000 are locked out of their livelihoods.  This is wrong.  This is an affront to the memory and legacy of Reverend Dr. King. 

Now more than ever our brothers and sisters need us to come to their aid.  Do something today.  Give to your local food bank. Take a volunteer shift.  Go to your local unions and churches and organize a day of volunteering, or a rally in solidarity.  Call Senator Toomey and your Congressional representative, and tell them that this shameful shutdown is an abuse of workers.  Ask them “what would Dr. King do”?