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Activists Highlight MLK's Economic Justice Stance On Mag Mile

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 25, 2013 7:30PM

As tens of thousands marched on the East Coast yesterday to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, a group of activists canvassed the Magnificent Mile to highlight Martin Luther King Jr.’s stance on economic justice.

Members of Stand Up Chicago, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and other social justice organizations carried over-sized chalkboards bearing quotes from Dr. King about economic justice, asking passersby to talk about what they learned from him.

“I’m here today to support the message that King’s vision and message was much larger...his message was about economic freedom, economic justice. It’s important that people remember those parts of the message,” Susan Hurley, executive director of Chicago Jobs With Justice, said.

Indeed, Hurley said while America has taken huge strides in civil rights since the historic march, many have pointed out that civil rights, poverty and economic justice are inextricably linked.

“You can’t have civil rights without economic opportunity and economic justice,” Hurley said. “We need to be able to support ourselves, support our families, live with dignity and respect in our jobs and in our work in order to be full citizens in our democracy.”

Most passerby walking by down Michigan Ave. were supportive of the display, with several people writing their own messages on chalkboards provided by activists.

“By far the single most subversive thing one can do in the modern world is offer compassion selflessly,” wrote one man.

By the time the group departed, they had filled several chalkboards with signatures of people supporting a raise in the minimum wage.

Groups like Stand Up will be hoping for that compassion towards economic equality later this week, as several labor groups, retail and fast food workers plan to stage a national strike on Thursday.