Activist groups nationwide took to the streets on the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday since the police killings that left multiple unarmed black men dead last year to walk in the civil rights icon’s footsteps and invoke the same call for justice Dr. King did during the 1960s.
It’s a disheartening parallel — Dr. King, who was assassinated in 1968 for his belief that racial injustices and white supremacy should be dismantled, left a legacy of equality, love, and fairness. But the photographs we’ve come to know of King on the front lines of marches in Selma and Atlanta were eerily similar to photographs taken on MLK Day 2015.
Children, adults, black, and white walked the streets of St. Louis, New York City, Washington D.C., Oakland, and more in what activists dubbed #ReclaimMLK — an action to protest in the leader’s spirit, uphold his legacy, and let the nation know the movement for basic human rights isn’t over nearly five decades after his assassination.
In 2015, black lives matter.
From the Huffington Post:
Leaders from groups like Black Lives Matter and Ferguson Action helped organize events for the holiday through a campaign called #ReclaimMLK. Several other hashtags were associated with MLK Day events as well, including #DayOfAction, #WWMLKD, #PledgeOfResistance and #BeLikeKing.
With its #ReclaimMLK events, Ferguson Action, a grassroots civil rights organization birthed out of the heightened racial tension in Ferguson following Brown’s death, encouraged activists to resurface the “radical, principled and uncompromising” nonviolent protest tactics King used during the civil rights movement.
“Martin Luther King Jr’s life’s work was the elevation, honoring, and defense of Black Lives. His tools included non-violent civil disobedience and direct action,” reads a statement on. “From here on, MLK weekend will be known as a time of national resistance to injustice.”
“[T]his year, King’s legacy is being thought of in the context of the #BlackLivesMatter movement which has spread like wildfire throughout the United States and around the world. Ignited by the killings of Islan Nettles, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Aiyana Jones, Jordan Davis and too many more by police and vigilantes, Dr. King’s legacy and his work take on a different meaning in today’s world,”
Thousands of people united to perform sit-ins, walk with banners held high in marches, and stage other actions in solidarity with each other on a day of service.
Only that service was amplified this year given the national climate of race today, a climate that hasn’t changed much since Dr. King preached his message of change, equality, and love.
For personal reflections, photographs, and videos of yesterday’s #ReclaimMLK action, visit the hashtag on Twitter.
SOURCE: Huffington Post, Twitter | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty