AFSCME MD Honors King's Labor Activism, Civil Rights Work

AFSCME members were front-and-center in Baltimore at the 18th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade. Representing dozens of State departments from across Maryland, members donned green AFSCME shirts, hats and scarves on the parade route along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Eutaw Street. AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride joined the Council in this year's parade. 

Participation in the popular Baltimore parade was especially important to AFSCME Maryland in the current political climate. 

“As right-wing politicians and corporate interests threaten the rights of working women and men across the nation, Council 3 is leading the charge to make sure every hardworking Marylander is protected on the job and has the right to organize,” Council President Patrick Moran said.

The event was originally canceled by the city. But after public outcry about the importance of acknowledging Dr. King’s social justice contributions for workers, the poor and people of color, the city reinstated the parade.

“Dr. King’s legacy is deeply connected to the labor movement and communities that have been forgotten or neglected by powerful interests,” Veronica Powell of AFSCME Local 112 said. “In 1968, he traveled to Memphis in solidarity with AFSCME members fighting for safer working conditions and fair wages. These issues are still at the forefront of the labor movement today. We will honor Dr. King’s memory by continuing the fight.”

Across the country, AFSCME members are taking a look back at past labor struggles as inspiration for how to address modern attacks on workers’ rights. In honor of Dr. King’s legacy in the labor movement, AFSCME’s national headquarters launched the I AM 2018 campaign last June. The campaign aims to mobilize union members and their communities to continue King’s tradition of strong labor advocacy.

“Dr. King’s work in the labor movement played a critical role in protecting rights for all workers,” Melissa Barnes of AFSCME Local 539 said. “When unions are strong, working families and our local economies are strong. It’s an honor to march in this parade where his accomplishments are recognized.”

To see photos of AFSCME members from the parade, visit AFSCME Maryland on Facebook.