Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Day of Service
Today we celebrate the life and teachings of one of the most influential American civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The third Monday in January was designated a federal holiday in 1983, and this year we commemorate 50 years since Dr. King was assassinated. The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia tells us that on this day we honor “the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.”
There is so much we continue to learn from Dr. King’s example, especially during this terrible period in our nation. It has become a unique tradition to participate in a day of service on this holiday. You can find activities all around the country by checking with local service organizations, or click this link to find opportunities in your area. Coming together in our neighborhoods and communities can only help us to bridge the gaps that seem to widen with each news cycle. Let’s honor Dr. King by being our best selves and working to make our communities kinder and more welcoming to everyone.
If, at the end of the day, you still have some energy to spare, why not head over to one of our National Parks? National Parks will have free entry on MLK Day, one of only four free days this year. Find more info here.
Donald Trump is a Racist
Plain and simple, Donald Trump is a racist and always has been. The fact that some of America is just coming to terms with this is actually a relief, in some ways. But it is equally disturbing that even many in the press are just coming to that realization, or are just now willing to state that in print. This past week, Trump displayed deeply racist beliefs by remarking, during immigration discussions in Washington, that African nations, as well as the country of Haiti, are “shitholes.” It is certain that no other president has uttered such abhorrent words in an official meeting in the White House.
On Sunday night, Trump proclaimed that he is not a racist, which pretty much just affirms that he is. Senator Dick Durbin (D – Ill.) confirmed to reporters that Trump did indeed use the hateful, racist language. GOP senators in attendance are now, ridiculously, denying that Trump spoke in those terms. But it doesn’t really matter. We know how Trump feels and he has been telling us repeatedly since before he was elected. You can read here how Lecia Michelle, writer, activist and black woman, feels about the fact that many white people will not call Trump a racist. That some are unwilling to admit that Trump is a racist is just par for the course, on a Trump golf course that is. Which is where Trump is today, unlike the past three presidents who have participated in the day of service.
Heroes and Victories
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) displayed great political bravery this week when she released the transcript of a testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. This was the testimony regarding the connection between Trump and Russian criminal and mafia interests. Fusion GPS is the investigating firm that produced a dossier on Trump and his activities that led many to speculate about Russian interference in the election. You can read the transcript here, and a great Twitter thread summarizing it here.
The revelations in the testimony are so alarming, it is truly incomprehensible that they were not revealed earlier. The Washington Post, among others, is calling Senator Feinstein’s actions courageous and patriotic. This week, she is a hero to the Resistance. Please let her know that we appreciate her heroic action.
A victory was also achieved this week when the North Carolina congressional map was ruled to be unconstitutional by a panel of federal judges. This means that gerrymandered congressional districts will have to be redrawn immediately. This is great news for the Resistance. Many groups have been working to correct gerrymandered districts that have allowed GOP candidates to be elected with dubious geographical designations. The Supreme Court has two other gerrymander cases before it, including cases from Wisconsin and Maryland.
Power to the Polls
This coming weekend is the anniversary of the Women’s March. We can probably agree that last year’s march was a beginning of the awakening of many Americans to ongoing injustices and inequalities. This year will be a celebration and a re-energizing of the movement. On Sunday January 21, 2018, the main march will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The organizers say that Las Vegas is a natural locus to emphasize the Power to the Polls movement because “Nevada has recent experience with some of the most pressing issues facing women in our nation today, from gun violence to politicians accused of sexual assault. As a swing-state that will shape the Senate in 2018 and as home to a strong activist network, Nevada is the perfect place to commemorate the Women’s March and continue building our electoral power.”
You can march with sister and brother resisters around the country too. Look for sister marches here. There will be events on both Saturday, January 20, and Sunday, January 21.
- Find a sister march and attend! Encourage your friends to attend!
- Contact your members of Congress and tell them to support immigration reform and resolving the DACA problem now.
- Let your representatives know that they must do everything in their power to guarantee the integrity of the Mueller Investigation!
- Verify your voter registration status. No matter what you think your status is, it is one of the most important things you can do in 2018, the year of #PowertothePolls https://www.headcount.org/verify-voter-registration/
Jacqui Viale is an educator and activist living in Long Beach California with her husband, two teenagers, two cats, a dog and a lizard. Jacqui holds a masters in Educational Administration from California State University, Long Beach.