Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lioneld Jordan Gives MLK Address

Local 965 member Lioneld Jordan delivered the Martin Luther King address to the January 16th meeting of the Senior Democrats of Northwest Arkansas, detailing the connection between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, and the labor movement. Jordan, who is also president of the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council, said there are many lessons that can be learned from King and the civil rights movement that can be applied to today’s class struggle.

One of the chief organizers of King’s famous “ I have a dream” speech was A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and civil rights activist, he said. Randolph organized the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, the first serious effort to form a labor union for employees of the Pullman Co., a major employer of African Americans.

If King were alive today, what would he say of the condition the world is in, Jordan asked. “The first thing he would be concerned about is the little guy,” he said. “We as Democrats must also be concerned about the welfare of the little guy. I believe we are.” Democrats need to continue fighting for decent living wages, Jordan said.

“King would have said it’s no good to free up the lunch counters if you can’t afford a hamburger,” Jordan said. “ It’s no good to free up the drinking fountains if the water is so polluted it’s not worth drinking.” King would ask why jobs are being sent overseas, he continued, instead of kept in the country. We must help bring jobs back and not only support a raise in the minimum wage to $ 7.10 per hour, but strive for a living wage for working families. “We need to attack the war on poverty. Let’s stamp it out in this country once and for all.”

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