AFL-CIO Hosts 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Observance in Detroit

Hundreds of labor, civil rights, and community activists will gather to honor Dr. King’s legacy and continue the movement for economic and racial justice

Over 500 activists and leaders from the labor and civil rights movements will come together in Detroit from January 12-January 16, 2012 for the AFL-CIO’s national annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and National Conference.

The weekend of activities will honor the legacy of Dr. King and recommit attendees to working toward economic and social justice for working families. Attendees will engage with families and community members hit hard by the recession during a day of community service projects around the city at local shelters, food banks, schools and social service centers. A town hall meeting and a series of workshops will provide a forum for attendees to discuss and learn more about present civil and worker rights fights including attacks on voter rights, protecting public education, and organizing for job-creating legislation.

“During these times, when people are unemployed, looking for work and in poverty, it is very important for labor and civil rights activists to come together as one to continue Dr. King’s movement,” said Augusta Thomas, AFGE National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices. “Little Martin, as I called him, would be so proud of us working together for the betterment of society,” she added.

Featured speakers and awardees include: Rep. Hansen Clarke, Rep. John Conyers, national radio host Joe Madison, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, UAW Pres. Bob King, U.S Department of Labor Sec. Hilda Solis and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker.

For more information, please click here.

National Vice President Augusta Thomas Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

AFGE NVP/WFPD Augusta Thomas at AFL-CIO MLK reception with actor Terrence Howard

Thousands of people are traveling to the Nation’s Capital this weekend to participate in the official dedication ceremony of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. Not many people can say they had the pleasure of being childhood friends with the late civil rights leader, but AFGE’s Women’s and Fair Practices Director, Augusta Thomas can.

In the midst of the 48th anniversary of King’s historical “I Have a Dream” speech and the dedication of King’s Memorial on the National Mall, Thomas recalls playing with King or “Little Martin” as she referred to him, at his childhood home.

Thomas had gone with her uncle to King’s family home where a group of ministers were having a meeting. Thomas and her sister were playing a game but needed another player so they asked King ­. He refused.

To get back at “Little Martin” for refusing to play, Thomas did what any child would do. “I locked him in the furnace room,” she said. By the time he got out, he was ready to play. Thomas’ plan worked.

Thomas’ place in history doesn’t stop there. She participated in the famous sit-in at the Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she was spat on, knocked down, and arrested.

Both AFGE and NVP Thomas remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during this historical occasion.

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