Fifty years ago this Thursday, February 1, 2018, two sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, lost their lives in the back of a garbage truck in Memphis, TN. It was 1968 when these two sanitation workers were crushed to death on the job and 1,300 of their AFSCME Local 1733 brothers stood together, risked everything, and went on strike. They demanded dignity and respect. They marched in the streets carrying placards with four simple, but powerful words: “I AM A MAN.” We ask you to join us in the I AM 2018 Moment Of Silence. (click here for the website).
It was this event and the subsequent fight for justice in Memphis that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for unity in support of the sanitation workers as he delivered his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” address. One day after he delivered this great speech, a sniper assassinated Dr. King as he stood on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis.
To honor our fallen brothers Cole and Walker and to recommit to our fight for social and economic justice, we ask that you join workers around the country this Thursday, February 1 in a moment of silence at your workplace. We will be holding our Ohio AFL-CIO moment of silence at 1:00 p.m., but you can hold yours at whichever time works best to conduct this at your workplace.
Together, we will resolve this February 1 to wake up America. There is so much to be done, so much unfinished business from 1968. America needs to re-engage with workers’ aspirations: for dignity on the job, for quality public services, for prosperity to be shared among all of us, for human rights for everyone.
Click here to enter your event. Let working people around the country know we are united for a better future for all workers, regardless or race, gender, place of birth or who we love. Let everyone know I AM!