Honor Martin Luther King by continuing the fight
Posted January 15, 2018 in Press Releases
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Amy Hanauer releases the following statement:
Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tenn. by a racist white man. King travelled there to support the city’s black sanitation workers in their strike protesting dangerous work conditions and unfair wages. It was part of King’s Poor People’s Campaign, which expanded the struggle for racial justice from desegregation and voting rights to economic security.
“There is nothing new about poverty,” he wrote in his final book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? “What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it…Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know‐how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources, the deficit is in human will.”
King knew the American dream would remain out of reach for black people until they could access decent housing, fair wages, safe working conditions, good schools and quality health care. He knew in many ways, the dream eluded white Americans living in poverty as well.
At Policy Matters Ohio, we try to honor King’s legacy by insisting on policies that recognize the dignity of all people. This year, we face several big fights. Having just drastically cut taxes to benefit the wealthiest few, President Trump and Republicans in Congress now aim to slash funding for programs that broaden opportunity like Medicaid, food aid, college assistance, public education and more. Children of undocumented immigrants who know no other home, could face deportation after Trump scrapped a program that allowed them to come out of the shadows and contribute to society without fear.
In Ohio, GOP lawmakers are pushing so-called “right to work” laws that would weaken labor unions — the single most effective tool in protecting workers’ rights, ensuring decent wages and shrinking workplace barriers for people of color and women. With the Trump administration’s blessing, state policymakers are pursuing work requirements, premiums and co-pays that would make it harder for low-income Ohioans to access health care through Medicaid.
These are challenging times, but something powerful has broken free across Ohio and the United States. We see it in the thousands who marched in D.C. and locally last year; the endless calls to members of Congress in defense of the Affordable Care Act and the outcry of support for our immigrant neighbors. The human will for change is building. Join us as we strive to answer King’s call and “bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”