Women from around the country will join in the Poor People’s March from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., on Mother’s Day weekend.
The 41-mile march is in the tradition of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and makes demands for jobs, justice and an end to police brutality.
The final stretch of the march will take place on Mother’s Day and will be led by women from the OUR Walmart worker’s rights group and the mothers of victims of police killings.
Mother’s Day is on May 12 this year, the date that Coretta Scott King led the kickoff of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968.
“We hope to make change so we can better things for everyone,” said Barbara Kauffman of Baltimore. “All type of things are going on that should not be happening, but they are. This march covers a lot of things, not just one area. The rich man gets richer, the poor man gets poorer. We want equality.”
Another march organizer, Kay Adler of Baltimore, said, “I’m a volunteer with the Baltimore All Peoples Congress, also a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Birmingham, Ala., and a member of BRAIV – Black/Red/American Indian Voices. We’re marching from Baltimore to D.C. to accomplish reviving Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream and vision. We are marching for the rights of all people, because if there is no justice, there cannot be any peace.”
Student Zaina Alsous of Raleigh, N.C., plans to march because, “as young people, it’s very important to engage in these powerful mass demonstrations to help carry on the rich organizing legacies that we’ve inherited.”
On May 11, marchers will gather at about 10 a.m. at Biddle Street and North Montford Avenue in Baltimore.
The march steps off at about 11 a.m., with walkers taking Route 1 as far as the University of Maryland for a rally that night.
On May 12, marchers will leave Hyattsville, Md., for D.C., reaching the Justice Department on Pennsylvania Avenue at about 2 p.m. and Freedom Plaza at about 3 p.m.
Marchers will return to Freedom Plaza on May 13 for a demonstration.
The march is endorsed by the AFL-CIO and other labor groups, OUR Walmart, the All Peoples Congress of Baltimore, the Peace House in D.C., and a Occupy groups.
Today the nation remembers slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta and assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.
This month also brings the anniversary of the death of Coretta Scott King, who carried on her husband’s work into the 21st century. Coretta Scott King was born on April 27, 1927, in Alabama and died on Jan. 30, 2006, at a hospital in Mexico.
MLK Jr. died more than a year before the Stonewall Riots that gave rise to the modern LGBT civil rights movement and did not speak publicly about gay rights. He did, however, support and work closely with Bayard Rustin, the gay organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and a force in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Coretta Scott King’s advocacy on behalf of LGBT equality became high profile in 1998, when, in a speech at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, she called on the broader civil rights community to join the struggle.
“Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood,” she stated. “This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”
In a 2000 speech at a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference, she said, “Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
“My husband, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, ‘We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny… an inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.’ Therefore, I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”
Coretta Scott King also invited NGLTF to participate in the 40th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington and her husband’s “I have a dream” speech.