In an effort to reclaim the radical legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the The Movement for Black Lives is calling for a King weekend of ”divestment” from racist systems and investment in liberation projects. The collective, which coalesced during last year’s Movement for Black Lives Convening, is using the hashtag #ReclaimMLK for various protests, community meetings and direct actions around the country. Organizers have also set up a text messaging system to provide people with updates, and they’re maintaining a map of activities around the country. From the Reclaim MLK web page:
Dr. King was one part of a larger movement of many branches that shaped our collective imagination for what change looks like in this country. From trans women of color at Stonewall who resisted police violence to sanitation workers in Memphis demanding basic dignity, our movement has always been a big tent: queer and straight, young and old, poor folks at the margins, students in the streets and more. This movement was built on a bold vision that was radical, principled, and uncompromising. And MLK’s vision was one of a movement made of many parts that could be more aligned, more radical and more visionary.
Unfortunately, Dr. King’s legacy has been clouded by efforts to soften, sanitize, and commercialize it. Impulses to remove Dr. King from the complex and radical movement that elevated him must end. We resist efforts to reduce a long history marred with the blood of countless people into iconic images of men in suits behind pulpits.
Saturday’s #ReclaimMLK events will be centered on defunding racist systems; Monday’s will focus on making investments that “fund our freedom.” The Movement for Black Lives breaks down their objectives using three categories:
1. Divest from racist systems & invest in Black communities
Simply put, we want the things that have been proven to hurt our families and our communities to lose support, resources, and money…
2. Community control
…Our communities need real control over the systems and institutions that affect and shape our lives. We want the [radical] democracy that MLK, Ella Baker and others fought for, where communities most impacted are at the center of decision making. We demand the ability to decide how our schools run or the way our cities spend money.
3. Alternative institutions
…Our creativity, imagination, and genius can create new solutions to our problems, and these new solutions can reflect the values of the world we want to live in. We demand the resources and the freedom to create these new solutions.
Visit the Movement for Black Lives web site to find an action near you or spread the word about your own event. For updates throughout the weekend, text “MLK” to 90975.