This year will mark the seventh annual MLK Day Rally & March in downtown Detroit. The event will honor the peace and social justice legacy of the martyred civil rights leader who would have been 81 years old. The theme for 2010 is: "Join the Struggle for Jobs, Peace and Economic Justice" and will enjoy the participation of many activists from throughout the metropolitan area.
With the unemployment rates in Detroit at depression-era levels of 29-45 percent, depending upon how it is calculated, the current crisis requires the initiation of a new mass movement to demand a real jobs program to employ the 30-34 million people in the United States who are either unemployed or underemployed.
At the same time, the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the continuing occupation of Iraq is draining the national treasury of over $700 billion annually. These resources should be utilized to create millions of jobs, health care for all, universal quality education and housing for residents of the country.
Participants in this year's MLK Day will be honored with the presence of keynote speaker Rev. Edward Pinkney of the NAACP in Benton Harbor. Rev. Pinkney, a recently released political prisoner in Michigan, who challenged racism in Berrien County and won his release through a State Appeals' Court decision, continues to advocate on behalf of the poor and working people of the southwest region of Michigan.
In addition, Rev. Tom Smith of Pittsburgh will also address the rally and march on the struggle for jobs and economic justice in the present period. Rev. Smith, the pastor of Monumental Baptist Church and a leader in Pastors for Peace, was a key organizer of the demonstrations surrounding the G20 Summit held in Pittsburgh in September.
City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, a longtime supporter of MLK Day in Detroit, will welcome the participants. A poster contest involving Detroit area students is encouraging youth initiative and leadership.
In the spirit of Dr. King's call to service, please bring donations of warm winter wear items for the Homeless Outreach Program at Central United Methodist Church.