Motor City Welcomes 2012 MLK Observance

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC, opened to the public during the fall of 2011 to commemorate the life and work of Dr. King and honor his national and international contributions to world peace through non-violent social change.

This year’s AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance is taking place in Detroit, MI, a city with a rich civil rights history.

Diane Babineaux, Chief of Staff to the IAM International President, will lead the IAM contingent to the annual MLK observance. More than 550 civil rights and human rights activists will take part in this year’s activities, which will include speakers, workshops and community service activities.

The conference includes an awards presentation to civil rights veteran and lawmaker Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). Conyers, who has been in office since 1964, is one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Attendees will later fan out across the Motor City for a day of community service projects at local shelters, food banks, schools and social service centers. The agenda also includes a town hall meeting, moderated by national radio talk show host and civil rights activist Joe Madison, examining the growing attacks on voting rights, union workers, the jobless and immigration.

Additional commemorative events will take place in hundreds of cities and communities across the country. Among the challenges facing civil rights activists this year are unemployment, low-wage jobs, the economic crisis and public education. Delegates to the conference will also be discussing organizing efforts for the 2012 presidential election.