Today we join in solidarity to honor the life and legacy of visionary Civil Rights and Labor Leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who famously said, “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.”
Though King may be best known for his tireless fight for racial equality and civil rights activism, one of the civil rights that he was equally vocal about but is often overlooked is his champion for unions and economic justice.
In a 1965 address at the Illinois State AFL-CIO 8th annual convention, King said: “The two most dynamic movements that reshaped the nation during the past three decades are the labor and civil rights movements. Our combined strength is potentially enormous.”
Nearly sixty years after delivering his timeless speech at the Illinois State AFL-CIO’s 8th annual convention, Dr. King’s message still resonates and breathes hope for a stronger society today as it did in 1965.
The IATSE is proud to lead the way for entertainment workers by honoring Dr. King and being the first to add Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday to our collective bargaining agreements.
Dr. King knew there was strength in numbers, and power in a collective voice. His wisdom understood that unions tie people together and that when we stand together, vote together, and speak together, we can more powerfully address social issues and pursue economic betterment.
He once said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
On this anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the IATSE Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee encourages members to remember his impact, and how he helped give voice and direction to a movement that continues to inspire and shape workers’ lives six decades after it began. Movements across the world partake in Dr. King’s teachings, and so his legacy continues on with hope and strength to outlive the injustices he sought to eradicate.
― IATSE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee