Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has brought activists from many stripes into the streets.
Airport workers in nine cities planned to block traffic and demanded a $15 minimum wage, while demonstrators protesting police brutality marched elsewhere.
In their latest push for a $15 minimum wage, airport workers took a page out of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s notebook by engaging in acts of civil disobedience on Monday. Fuelers, baggage handlers and other workers will risk arrest at nine airports across the U.S.
Workers at Boston’s Logan International Airport demonstrated on the roads and in terminals in their bid for a increased wages and union organizing rights.
At least six workers were arrested on trespassing charges.
The protests come just a day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called to for the minimum wage for the region’s airport workers to increase to $15 an hour. He urged the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – which operates Newark Liberty International, where a protests will be held – to “get on board and do the same” in an opinion piece published by the New York Daily News.
“While growth at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark continues to take off, more than 12,000 hardworking men and women at these facilities remain grounded, barely scraping by on the minimum wage with a shrinking paycheck that just doesn’t cut it anymore,” Cuomo said.
In Washington, DC, as many as 200 workers at Reagan National Airport plan to block traffic near the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the city’s Tidal Basin.
Demonstrators will march from the monument along Independence Avenue SW, and ultimately plan to block traffic on the Kutz Bridge.
Massachusetts Port Authority spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan has said that the authority has pushed for airport workers to be paid above the minimum wage.
“The $11 per hour rate for certain airport workers is among the highest in the country, and the highest minimum wage in the state,” Massport spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan told The Boston Globe.
Airport employees are also organizing protests in Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, Chicago and Portland, Oregon.
Anti-police brutality activist are commemorating Dr. King with demonstrations of their own.
In Minneapolis – Saint Paul, a demonstration is taking place to protest the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in the wake of a grand jury declining to indict the officers involved. Protesters plan to meet on both sides of Lake Street-Marshall Avenue Bridge connecting the twin cities at 3:30pm local time before marching towards each other and meeting at the middle of the bridge
“The idea of the march is to pull together both cities … that are only divided by the river but share the same kinds of injustices,” Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar said in a Facebook post.
Community activists in Cleveland, Ohio plan to protests against perceived inequalities and ineffectiveness in the criminal justice system. A 2:30pm rally will begin with a prayer vigil against police-related tragedies in the region. Still fresh in the mind of communities is the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of police, none of whom received an indictment.
Activists in Oakland, California have been holding protests during the days leading up to Martin Luther King Day, rallying under the banner of the #ReclaimMLK hashtag. Protesters demonstrated against the perceived mainstreaming of Martin Luther King Jr., and have been seeking to return to the radical roots of the famed civil rights activist.