Faith Leaders Leading the Fight Against Income Inequality in New York

Huff Post: All throughout history, clergy of all faiths and denominations have been deeply involved in the fight for civil rights and for fair and just treatment for all people.

Here in the United States, priests, ministers, rabbis and clergy of other faiths took part in — or supported — the lunch-counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960, and later as they spread to South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi and all through the South.

Faith leaders of all stripes joined hands with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others as they marched on Washington, D.C., in 1963 and then through the streets of Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham where, in September 1963, four young black girls attending Sunday School were murdered when racists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Clergymen and women also were at the forefront of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, and on April 4, 1967, King delivered his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech to a crowd of about 3,000 people in Riverside Church, noting the U.S. government was sending young black men “13,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.”

In recent months, faith leaders played a pivotal role in the airport workers’ campaign for livable wages. Many were arrested in a civil disobedience action on MLK Day in January. Soon after, some airlines have agreed to boost wages at least $1 an hour over the current minimum wage with a phase-in to $10.10 an hour.

Clergy led the occupation of a Midtown McDonald’s last December, coinciding with fast food workers’ national strikes in 130 cities, helped lead the fight for paid sick day legislation in New York City, and stood with the “carwasheros,” who have voted to unionize at eight locations.

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Categories: Americas

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