by Rick Bramhall, SD350
It’s said that Martin Luther nailed his list of complaints to the door of a church in 1517, thereby starting the Reformation and the Protestant movement. What’s known for certain is that on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day, January 16, 2017, the Reverend Shane Harris taped his list of ten social justice demands to the San Diego City Council on the door of the City Administrative Building. This was the culmination and end of the Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day People’s March and Rally, organized by the National Action Network chapter in San Diego.
Representing San Diego 350 on that march were Karen and Mark Hughes, along with myself. The event was organized by Rev. Harris, president of the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network (commonly known as NAN). He explained in remarks before the march got underway that, unlike the Sunday parade of a day before, there was no fee for participating and that everyone was welcome to step out.The march started around 3pm at the corner of Park and B St and strode quickly along B to the Civic Center. The entire event was well documented by what seemed to be all the local TV stations, even Fox News. Security was provided by the Brown Berets and Black Panthers. City police on motorcycles made sure we got safely through the intersections.
An estimate I heard from one of the cameramen was that the crowd at the start numbered about 300. My own guess is around that. All were well-behaved and there were no incidents.
I couldn’t begin to name all the groups that attended. Several labor unions were represented, included the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the taxi cab union. Members of a homeless choir came out and sang at the rally after the march.
Congregation members and ministers from several churches came out and some spoke. People Over Profits, a community action group from Barrio Logan, was well represented. The family of the late Alfred Olango were invited and the slain man’s brother spoke at the rally.
The rally at the end of the march last well over an hour and the entire event was well organized and run. I first met Rev. Harris back when we were both working for the passage of Proposition 57 and, to the best of my knowledge, this is the largest event he’s ever planned.
Events like this are a great way to meet activists from other groups and this one was no exception. Besides Shane, I was already familiar with Mark Bartlett of People Over Profits. When I asked him about pollution issues in Barrio Logan, he had a ready reply and a long list. I invited him to come speak at one of our monthly meetings.
The San Diego Alliance for Justice is staging several events Friday, Jan. 20 in reaction to Inauguration Day. At 10:30am, they are holding a rally at San Diego City College, which will be followed by a march to the Federal Building for a rally at noon. Our own newly-minted National Monument, Chicano Park, will be the site of an evening rally starting at 5pm.
I met Martin Eder from ActivistSanDiego.org, who had provided the sound system for our own Standing Rock events. He was handing out fliers for a People’s Ball to take place Friday night, starting at 7pm. It will be at the Centro Cultural de La Raza in Balboa Park. It is a fundraiser, $25/person advance purchase, $30 at the door. He plans to recognize SD350 for our efforts this past year at the event.
A good time was had by all. I hope the event will be repeated next year and that more SD350 members will be able to attend.
Rick Bramhall attended his first SD350 event in November. He is on the presentation committee and the PCM2017 coalition committee. He did volunteer work with the ACLU 1983-94 and the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve 1997-2005.Google+