When we marched to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a national holiday we never dreamed what it would become. We had always celebrated with marches, rallies, church services and memorial meetings. But after the national holiday was won the corporations kicked into gear to strip this holiday of its political significance and turn it into a bargain shopper’s extravaganza.
We at the People’s Weekly World want to continue the fight for the significance of the holiday with a commemorative ad that promotes the meaning of Dr. King’s life for today.
The great musical genius Stevie Wonder spearheaded the campaign for a national holiday. He wrote a song, simply titled “Happy Birthday,” that became the anthem for the national birthday movement. In his song he said he could not understand why anyone would stand in the way of a celebration of a man’s birthday who had stood for unity, justice and peace. Though the resistance was overcome, the need to find a way every year to bring the legacy of Dr. King to the millions who continue the struggle for justice and peace is a challenge.
The People’s Weekly World saw no better way to connect our struggle to publish every week from the frontlines of today’s struggle for a peaceful solution to the threat of terrorism, to strengthen the unity against the right’s attack on civil liberties and rights, than to call upon our readers to once again take a stand for Dr. King’s dream.
Below is the text that will be printed in the Jan. 19 issue, please ask your coworkers, neighbors and fellow activists to sign on to the ad for a $25 contribution to the World to say in the words of Stevie Wonder,
“Happy Birthday to you …
And we all know everything
that he stood for time will bring,
For in peace our hearts will sing,
Thanks to Martin Luther King!”
So that the persuit of peace will take precedence…
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for many things: his commitment to non-violence, to civil rights and civil liberties, to economic justice, against racism and for African-American equality, and for his support of workers fighting to organize unions.
Others remember him as a man of peace who spoke against the Vietnam War and said, ‘A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: ‘This way of settling differences is not just.”
Although delivered in 1967, King’s speech gives us pause and inspiration, as does his statement, ‘We must find new ways to speak for peace … and justice throughout the world …’
We salute Dr. King’s courgate and vision as he saw and struggled for an America and world that can be and pledge in his memory to work to reorder our nation’s priorities ‘so that the persuit of peace will take precedence over the persuit of war.’