March Observing King Assassination Will Demand Gaza Ceasefire, End To Racial Oppression At Home And Abroad

By Lawrence Hamm

Photos: Facebook\Wikimedia Commons

A march to commemorate the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, demand a ceasefire in Gaza, and an end to racial oppression at home and abroad will be held Thursday, April 4, 2024, 4:30pm, starting at the Martin Luther King Statue, 495 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Newark, New Jersey.

The Martin Luther King March For A Ceasefire In Gaza And Justice For The Palestinians will be held on the 56th anniversary of Dr King’s assassination. The march is being called by the People’s Organization For Progress (POP).

It has been endorsed by a number of organizations including If Not Now New Jersey, Jewish Voice for Peace Northern New Jersey, Reconstructing Economics for African Love (REFAL), Ceasefire Now NJ, PAL-Awada (Palestine Assembly for Liberation- Palestine Right to Return Coalition), West Orange for Humanity, National Action Network – South Jersey, Ironbound Community Corporation, Showing Up for Racial Justice-New Jersey (SURJ), Teaneck Peace and Justice Vigil, and American Muslims for Palestine – NJ (AMP NJ).

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot after 6:00pm while standing on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. He was pronounced dead at 7:05pm at St Joseph Hospital.

“King was in Memphis to lend his support to striking sanitation workers. Many believe that King was assassinated because of his demands for an end to poverty and racial inequality, and his opposition to the war in Vietnam,” Lawrence Hamm, Chairman, People’s Organization For Progress stated.

POP has held marches and other events on both King’s birthday and the anniversary of his death since the organization was founded 42 years ago.

“We decided to make the theme of this year’s march the demand for a ceasefire in Gaza and justice for the Palestinians because we firmly believe that if Martin Luther King were alive he would vigorously oppose the genocidal war in Gaza just as he opposed the war in Vietnam,” Hamm said.

During this war in less than six months nearly 33,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered, the majority of whom are women and children. This does not include thousands presumed dead who are buried under the rubble of buildings bombed by Israel.

More than 75,000 have been injured and many of those still alive are starving in one of the worst famines since the end of World War II. The bombing and destruction of more than 50 percent of the housing has displaced more than one million people, about half the population.

All of Gaza’s 36 hospitals have been bombed and destroyed. The universities have been destroyed and schools have been bombed.

“We are marching on April 4th to demand an end to the war and genocide in Gaza. We are marching to demand the Biden administration and Congress stop using our tax dollars to support the war and genocide in Gaza. We are marching to demand the Biden administration demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” Hamm said. “We are marching to demand the immediate and unrestricted flow of all humanitarian aid into Gaza and the resumption of U.S. funding to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). And we demand an immediate halt of all U.S. military aid and weapons to Israel.” 

“In addition, we are calling for the release of all hostages, those held by both Hamas and Israel,” he said.

The march will highlight the continued oppression and struggle for liberation of African Americans in the United States.

“Dr King was killed in the struggle against the racial oppression of Black people in this country. He fought against racial injustice, inequality, segregation, discrimination, repression, exploitation, and violence,” Hamm said. “If we have a march on the anniversary of his assassination then we must discuss these problems which still confront us today. More importantly we must discuss solutions and the action necessary to make them happen.”

The event on Thursday will highlight injustice in other parts of the world as well.

“We will march to also draw attention to genocide and oppression taking place in African countries including Congo and Sudan. We could not have a march like this without discussing the dire crisis in Haiti, our Caribbean neighbor,” Hamm said.

“We will discuss the role western imperialist powers, including the United States, have played in these countries that has contributed to their current crises. We will discuss how what is happening over there is related to what is happening over here, and why and how we must express solidarity with the people in those countries,” Hamm added.

Participants will march from the King statue to the Peter Rodino Federal Building and back for the rally. Speakers at the rally will include representatives of the supporting organizations, family members of police brutality victims, activists, labor organizers, religious leaders, and elected officials.

For more information contact the People’s Organization For Progress (POP) at 973 801-0001.

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