Protest Actions Nationwide Strive to Reclaim Martin Luther King's Radical Legacy

Posted Jan. 20, 2016

MP3 Interview with Michelle Higgins, director of the group, Faith For Justice and an active member of the Organization for Black Struggle, conducted by Scott Harris

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Over the past year-and-a-half, tens of thousands of people from across the United States have participated in protests calling attention to and demanding action to stop unjustified police violence in communities of color. The Black Lives Matter movement was launched after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City during the summer of 2014. The movement's relevancy is continually demonstrated with frequent incidents of police misconduct now being captured on video recordings.

The October 2014 Chicago police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald exploded into a major scandal after it was revealed that video evidence – which clearly showed police use of unnecessary deadly force – was suppressed for over a year. The McDonald case has provoked calls for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials. The failure of a grand jury to indict the officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland has triggered demands for a federal investigation into the youth's death. Rice was shot by a white police officer in November 2014, just two seconds after a squad car arrived at the scene responding to a call that the boy was likely carrying a toy gun.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Michelle Higgins, director of the group, Faith For Justice, and an active member of the Organization for Black Struggle. Here, she talks about the nationwide "Reclaim MLK" protest actions that were organized during the 2015 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The actions were centered around the movement's three demands: Divest from racist systems & invest in black communities; recapture community control and establish alternative institutions.

For more information, visit The Movement for Black Lives at action.movementforblacklives.org/reclaim_mlk_2016; Ferguson Action at fergusonaction.com/reclaim-mlk.

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