UNITE HERE members from all over the country convened in Memphis, Tennessee to celebrate and remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights legacy. April 4, 2018 marked 50 years after his assassination. His life of purposeful non-violent direct action inspired many to take up the mantle as activists, organizers, and leaders.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech was in Memphis, called “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. He emphasized the need for economic justice alongside racial justice. The speech was in support of striking sanitation workers, who were battling against discrimination, unsafe working conditions, low pay and disrespect.
Dr. King’s message isn’t forgotten today in our fight for decent wages and respect in airline catering kitchens across the country, which is why many workers in LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet, and Flying Foods made the journey from their homes to this very important event.
Many cities made the trip down in buses.
Local 23, Local 1 Chicago and Local 355 Miami traveling to Memphis.
On Tuesday, the morning started with a Labor Plenary with UNITE HERE Vice President Maria Elena Durazo and at Mason Temple.
Maria Elenza Durazo and the crowd at Mason Temple.
Alain Moore, an airline catering worker organizing for union representation at United Airlines, made a speech about his struggle at the Temple of Deliverance. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6PcGyLmDmI&t=22s
Civil Rights Leader Reverend Lawson addressing the crowd.
From Left to Right: Father Kiley (Director of Immigration Policy for UNITE HERE), Christian Pace (Young Activist), Maria Elena Durazo (General Vice President of UNITE HERE), Jose Maldonado (Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 100), D. Taylor (UNITE HERE International President), Alain Moore (Driver at United Catering Operations)
Workers at LSG Sky Chefs and HMS Host from Local 362 Central Florida.
Workers from LSG Sky Chefs from Local 23 Charlotte and Raleigh.
At night, we went to Mason Temple and the Temple of Deliverance to hear different labor leaders speak about their commitment to civil rights in the current political climate.
The next day, we rallied!
And then we marched the same path Martin Luther King Jr. marched with the Sanitation workers.
A member of our union family, Lindell Lawrence, a United Airlines Catering worker, wrote about his reasons for marching in this article.
In the end, 2000 members from UNITE HERE marched with faith, labor and civil rights leaders to reflect on what this historic struggle means for them today. Watch this video featuring Bobby Kirkpatrick from Local 23 Charlotte and Step Bethea Local 7 Baltimore about carrying on the legacy of what the civil rights movement started:
UNITE HERE members share their experiences in the historic civil rights struggle and what coming to Memphis means to them now.More than 2,000 UNITE HERE members from across North America join tens of thousands in Memphis, Tennessee, for I AM 2018, the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike.
Posted by UNITE HERE! on Monday, April 2, 2018