Thousands Gather to Reclaim MLK’s Radical Dream, End Economic Inequality

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Thousands Gather to Reclaim MLK’s Radical Dream, End Economic Inequality  

Clergy, Family Farmers, Elected Officials, Small Business Owners, Workers & Homeowners Unite for Multi-State Initiative Calling for Tax Fairness & Transparency as State Legislative Sessions Open

Two thousand people—including clergy, community members, small business owners, union leaders, and elected officials—will gather in Chicago on Sunday, January 19, 2014 to celebrate Martin Luther King’s dream of economic justice and racial harmony, kicking off a ten state initiative by National Peoples Action (NPA) to strengthen local economies and end income inequality.

“Dr. King had a radical vision that racial equality cannot be achieved without economic equality,” says Rev. Dwight Gardner, the event’s keynote speaker and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Gary, IN. 

The event, which is being organized by IIRON and The People’s Lobby, aims to reinforce Dr. King’s vision of economic justice by introducing legislation to make transparency and fairness central elements of the corporate tax code.  Event organizers are working as part of a statewide coalition to sponsor Corporate Tax Transparency bills in Chicago and Springfield in line with the national movement. 

“Corporations and their legislative allies are doing what Dr. King warned against so many years ago: ‘taking necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few’,” says IIRON Executive Director David Hatch. “But we’re fighting to put a stop to that system.”

In Iowa earlier this week, 250 Iowans from across Iowa gathered for a rally advocating for a more just economy and government that fully funds the public services that Iowans and many Americans depend on. 

“Our Governor is claiming that his corporate property tax cuts will spend down our surplus over five years but that economic growth over the same period will prevent the state from running a deficit,” said Ross Grooters, of the Iowa CCI Action Fund.  “The state surplus simply isn't big enough to pay the cost of corporate property tax cuts year after year after year, particularly if we want to invest in critical public services like education, environmental protections, and infrastructure.  We have to raise new revenue by making the very wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes.”

Similar campaigns are being run across the country at the city or state level in places like Maine, Minnesota, New York, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico, where advocates are building momentum in a movement for economic justice and fairness to help restore working Americans who are still recovering from the economic crisis.  These diverse coalitions are moving city and municipal legislation and running statewide campaigns to end tax breaks that favor the wealthy and corporations to stabilize local economies and invest in communities.

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society,” said Dr. King, in a 1967 speech given at Manhattan’s Riverside Church .  “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”  

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