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13 Jan, 2012

“Occupy” Movement Praised for Honoring Martin Luther King Legacy


PITTSBURGH, Jan. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Occupy protesters across the United States who have planned events for this year’s Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16) honor his mission and the method he chose to pursue it, United Steelworkers (USW) officers said this week.

<p>United Steelworkers. (PRNewsFoto/United Steelworkers)<br /><br />

“By engaging in non-violent demonstration and by seeking economic justice, the Occupy protesters are walking in the footsteps of the Rev. King, and I think he would be proud of their efforts,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

USW Vice President for Human Affairs Fred Redmond added, “In the year before his assassination, Dr. King launched with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference the Poor People’s Campaign to seek decent jobs, health care and housing for all Americans. He did it because he came to believe people cannot truly be free until they are economically independent.”

A month after Dr. King was gunned down in April of 1968, his widow led thousands of Poor People’s Campaign demonstrators into Washington, D.C. where they established an encampment, called Resurrection City on the National Mall.

“The Occupy encampments across this country are reminiscent of that effort by 2,800 demonstrators, black and white, who remained in tents and shacks through virtually continuous rain that spring and whose city, like those of too many Occupiers, was raided and destroyed by police after six weeks,” Gerard noted.

“Like the Occupiers,” Redmond said, “the Resurrection City campers were criticized for failing to offer specific demands. After the city was razed, the effort was derided. But achieving economic justice is not easy and is not accomplished in a day or even a lifetime. Difficult as it is, it is a worthy cause, and one that the Occupiers, to their credit, have now shouldered.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org/.