Organized Labor Throws Support behind March

Barrington M. Salmon | 8/21/2013, noon
Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy Photo

“The foundation of the right wing is a change in America. They are protecting the rights the rich and powerful have enjoyed all these years.”

For years, Lucy said, those seeking to maintain the status quo convinced poor whites and others that women, African Americans and immigrants had taken away their privilege of color. At the same time, he said, more and more wealth has become more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

“In the past, they were able to use color and race to prevent equal opportunity,” he said. “The struggle of the ’60s provided an avenue for blacks to find a way to a middle-class lifestyle. This battle [for equality] is something organized labor has to carry out. Organized labor is the only group powerful enough to fight this.”

Dianis said the march needs to do more than mobilize people for rallies.

“It’s about including them in every decision, being politically educated and bringing them into the movement,” she said. “We have to get individuals to have ownership over the movement. Reimagining civil rights means we should be multiracial in our approach. There is so much collective power having African Americans, Latinos, and others; (we must) be more inclusive because we also know that these communities face the same type of issues. What we cannot get away from, is organization.”