The Rev. William Barber II, a Protestant minister, faith leader and political activist who co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in addressing delegates to AFSCME’s 44th International Convention.
He echoed the sentiments King expressed when addressing striking AFSCME sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, on the eve of his assassination in 1968.
“Nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now,” Barber said, repeating a phrase from King’s Mountaintop speech. “And I know that AFSCME understands this.”
Barber drew parallels between the struggle led by King and the current moment of economic and racial injustice that has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. He called for political action that leads to lasting change for America’s working people.
“Nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now, to stop organizing now … to close our mouths now, to stand down now,” Barber said.
Watch Barber’s full address here.