January 17, 2012
Monday, Martin Luther King Day, saw the ninth annual MLK Day Rally and March in Detroit. Hundreds packed into the historic Central United Methodist Church to celebrate King and reaffirm the movements commitment to social justice.
The theme for this year’s rally was “the Struggle for Jobs, Peace and Economic Justice”; a special recognition, along with a standing ovation, was bestowed on Occupy Detroit for their contribution. In addition, SNCC’s female freedom fighters were honored. A panel by the four co-editors of the collection “Hands on the Freedom Plow,” a book that looks at the important role female Civil RIghts activists played within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) included Gloria House, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Marilyn Lowen and Gwen M. Patton.
After a send off by the Mosaic Youth Theater a march, which included an energetic socialist contingent, weaved its way through the streets of Detroit on a overcast but, for January in Michigan, warm day.
In the afternoon many Detroit marchers traveled to Ann Arbor meeting buses from all over the state for a march on Governor Snyder’s mansion in the hills north of Ann Arbor. The call from Occupy for Democracy, one of the march organizers, states: “In the tradition of Dr. King, we are going to stand in solidarity and fight for the promise of our democratic freedom. In response to Michigan leaders passing the Emergency Manager law that allows the state to appoint CEOs with absolute control [over Michigan cities] … We are sending out a call to action for all Americans to Occupy Superior Twp for Democracy.”
Throughout the day, in speeches, posters and placards, buttons and stickers, talks and conversations, the Occupy movement was positively referenced. Many folks attending, black and white, viewed Occupy as the legacy and continuation of King and the struggle for civil rights and social justice.