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Dr. King devoted his life to struggle. The end of his career was characterized by a devout rejection of militarism, economic inequality, racism and imperialism. Yet state sponsored commemorations on MLK Day have consistently left out this narrative. In our first post-Ferguson MLK weekend, people around the country mobilized to honor Dr. King’s legacy the way he would have wanted it – through massive demonstrations, direct actions and shutdowns.
Devaughn Frierson Jr., better known as Bo, endeavors every day to protect his community and, like the Black Panthers, he doesn’t turn his back to abuse by police. As a community journalist who is a Black disabled man like Bo, I wanted to get to know what drives this activist, who is a hero to his neighbors but was treated abominably by San Francisco police.
As we celebrate the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 83rd birthday, let us remember that he not only fought for racial justice and equality, but also called on us to end poverty and eliminate war. In his Nobel lecture, Dr. King said: “(T)he poor in America know that they live in the richest nation in the world, and that even though they are perishing on a lonely island of poverty they are surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity. ... (T)he infection and sickness of poverty (must) be exposed and healed – not only its symptoms but its basic causes. ... (W)e must not be afraid to pursue the remedy no matter how formidable the task.”
With Arizona’s harsh new immigration law threatening to unleash a wave of racial profiling, Bay Area African-American clergy and community leaders traveled to Phoenix late last month on a four-day solidarity mission.