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MLK and 31 days of a Government Shutdown

As we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, today a lot has passed through my mind. Today marks the 31st day of our government shutdown with no end in sight. Here at Arise, we were all in the office, hiding from the bitter cold, bustling around to get ready for our various day of service activities and events of the day. One of our long time members and advocacies came in with such warmth, excited about finally being in his new apartment after being homeless for some time. Those outcomes feel good. Another advocacy came in, a mother with her young children who is also experiencing homelessness. We made sure the kids had gloves and scarves while we worked with their mom to help secure a plan for housing until her appeal with the Department of Housing and Community Development would be heard. Our internet went down and we used that time to talk to one another about this day and the politics of Dr. King. We know he was a man on the side of equality and justice, racial and economic, for starters. He wouldn't be a supporter of a border wall and I imagine him disappointed in what this country has become. In May of 1967, Dr. King gave an interview at Ebenezer Baptist Church and he spoke about a struggle for decency and genuine equality. He said there are three evils in our nation. Not only racism, but also economic exploitation and militarism. These three are inextricably linked together and we won't get rid of one without getting rid of the others. Here it is January 2019 and these same three evils plague our nation. MAGA hats have become the new symbols of white supremacy, federal employees are working and not being paid, and our communities are subject to police departments that have been militarized and humanitarian efforts have become criminalized.

In spite of these things, one of the best parts of being at Arise is the way that we get to work with our community, educating, supporting and organizing. A lot of us don't know what our rights are or how to participate in the political process and when we come into Arise, that changes. When we know better we can do better, demanding better, holding political leaders accountable and participating in the decisions that are made about us. In doing service today to honor Dr. King's legacy, I believe that is what he would have wanted and expected of us, to push for our rights, our dignity and humanity. He was only 39 when he was killed, struck down for pushing for economic justice and equality. Everyday that we continue to fight for our rights, for equality and justice, we honor Dr. King.

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