Oakland, Detroit march on Martin Luther King Day

From the January-February 2017 issue of News & Letters

Bay Area protest on Martin Luther King Day, 2017. Photo: Urszula Wislanka for News & Letters

Bay Area protest on Martin Luther King Day, 2017. Photo: Urszula Wislanka for News & Letters

Oakland, Calif.—Several thousand people celebrated Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 16 in various ways. Many denounced Donald Trump, carried Black Lives Matter signs, and opposed militarization of police. The case of Kayla Moore, a Transgender Black woman murdered by Berkeley police (see “Handicap This!” p. 9), is a focal point for Black Lives Matter here.

On the march some carried signs quoting King: “It would be foolhardy for me to work for integrated schools…and not be concerned about the survival of the world in which to be integrated” and “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Many wanted to express solidarity: Jews speaking against Islamophobia, Filipinas for Black power, and slogans: Love is love, Black Lives Matter, Immigrants make America great, Women’s rights are human rights, Climate change is real, This is public health, and #OccupyPublicHealth, etc.

—Urszula Wislanka

Detroit—The 14th Annual Martin Luther King Day Rally and March in Detroit, “From Michigan to Standing Rock, the struggle for jobs, peace and justice continues,” drew over 500 people, connecting struggles from fights against neighborhood destruction by property tax foreclosures and residential water shut-offs in Detroit, attacks on public education and the pensions of City of Detroit retirees, to battling polluted water in Flint and reports from the pipeline protest on the Standing Rock Lakota Reservation.

Detroiters rally on Martin Luther King Day, 2016. Photo: Susan Van Gelder for News & Letters.

Detroiters rally on Martin Luther King Day, 2017. Photo: Susan Van Gelder for News & Letters.

Monica Lewis-Patrick of We the People said, “There is no separation between Detroit water shut-offs and Flint”: Joe Jacobs, who is Anishnabe, compared fire hoses and tear gas used against civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala., in 1965 to the military tactics against the Standing Rock Lakota and their supporters.

After the march through downtown, participants enjoyed fellowship and a wealth of readings by local poets, some of them only nine or ten years old.

—Marxist-Humanist Participant

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