TN Citizen Action Commemorates Martin Luther King, Jr. and His Legacy of Justice

April 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Recent Blog Posts, Workers Rights

Forty three years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King traveled to Memphis to support the sanitation workers and their struggle for dignity, fair pay and union rights. Their picket signs read, “I AM a Man.” Dr. King was assassinated the next day, April 4, 1968.

On the solemn anniversary Tennessee Citizen Action along with the SEIU, AFL-CIO, and TN Education Association came together to commemorate the life of Dr. King as well as his support of all hardworking men and women and their fight to be treated with dignity.

At the press conference, TN Citizen Action executive director Mary Mancini, made the following statement:

It’s on solemn and historic anniversaries like today’s when we must remind our Governor and the conservative majority in power in our General Assembly that their priority should be the hardworking people of Tennessee. We must remind them, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was “…that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”

American families are struggling — we need our leaders working together to get our economy back on track. But instead of creating jobs, the conservative majority in our legislature is moving forward as if the people of the state don’t matter. They are using our real economic problems as an excuse to not only ignore what’s best for hardworking Tennesseans and their families but to also actively take away their worth.

With each piece of legislation it seems that they are thinking only of what is beneficial to big business and large corporations while they weaken the voice of middle class Americans who have already sacrificed enough.

  • They want to cap the damages that can be awarded to victims of horrendous acts of medical malpractice which would promote irresponsible behavior by big business and deny a day on court for the victims – one of the pillars of our justice system.
  • They want to take away the right of teachers to speak up for better classroom conditions
  • They introduced a bill which would make it easier to deny unemployment benefits to firedemployees
  • They want to exempt the insurance industry from the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act giving them a free pass to deny claims without any oversight

During his testimony to the House Judiciary about the Governor’s caps on damages bill, Herbert Slatery, the Governor’s counsel, said that unemployment in Tennessee is really bad and we agree. But all his remarks were about what’s beneficial to large corporations. Not once did he mention the real human impact the Governor’s bill would have on the hardworking people of the state. The only focus is what’s beneficial to large corporations. This is not justice.

Photo credit: Randall Rice

After the press conference, members of several labor organizations silently and peaceably walked to the House and Senate Chamber and lined the entrances holding signs that paid homage Dr. King and to the signs the striking sanitation workers carried in 1968.

Photo credit: Randall Rice

Photo Credit: Randall Rice

Photo credit: Randall Rice

Photo credit: Randall Rice

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