ICYMI: DNC Chair Tom Perez Marches in Memphis to Commemorate Dr. King’s Legacy
April 5, 2018
Yesterday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez traveled to Memphis, Tennessee where he delivered remarks at AFSCME’s I AM 2018 rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to town for what would be his final campaign. Perez joined thousands of I AM 2018 activists from across America including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. William Barber, and leaders in the labor movement. In his remarks and throughout the day, Perez implored those gathered to honor King’s legacy through action — by marching, by organizing, and most importantly by voting in 2018, 2020, and beyond.
The DNC’s goal in 2018 is to reach 50 million voters from now until November to engage, educate, and mobilize them to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket through our IWillVote program.
Here are some of the highlights of Chair Perez at yesterday’s march:
“Dr. King’s struggle was about dignity, justice and opportunity. I feel that life is a marathon relay and the baton is in our hands to move forward, not to move backward. We are here to reflect on his life, but to redouble our efforts to ensure that we indeed form that more perfect union.”
“We need an economy that works for everyone,” he said. “It’s not about left or right. It’s about right or wrong.” He also adapted a slogan from 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “When some people go low, we go vote,” he said.
“[The best way we can follow in Dr. King’s footsteps is] by making sure his legacy is not in vain, by making sure we’re fighting for good jobs, fighting for economic justice.”
“If you’re sitting here today wondering what can I do to ensure [Dr. King’s] legacy endures: get people voting, get people out there, commit to vote. That’s what 2018 is about for the Democratic Party, IWillVote.com, that’s what we’re fighting for.
“If there is one thing that today illustrates for me is that we need moral leadership in this country. We need people like Dr. King….and what we need is that inspiration, that moral leadership that says life is not false choices, you don’t either help African Americans or Latinos or Asian Americans or Native Americans or white people, we help everyone — that was Dr. King’s example”
“It’s so inspiring to see so many young people here, Karen. People who understand that the torch is about to get passed to this next generation of leadership. And what it means for me is that I think the most important thing we can do above and beyond anything to preserve Dr. King’s legacy is to make sure we get people out to vote. Because when Democrats come out and vote and when we lead with our values, when we talk about health care as right for all not a privilege for a few, when we talk about the fact that ZIP code should never determine destiny in our country, that public education should be the key to punching your ticket to the middle class, when we talk about the fact that we need to make sure we build relationships with police departments that enable us to thrive and not confront. Those are issues that are so critically important and Dr. King was talking about jobs and justice. And I think the best way for us to realize his vision is to help win elections.”
“The most important thing for me that I’ve learned is that if we’re going to carry his legacy, we’ve gotta make sure people vote.”
“And what I’ve seen today is remarkable determination to make sure that [Dr. King’s] death was not in vain, that his legacy endures, and that we continue to fight to form a more perfect union.”
“Being here today for us is not only an opportunity not simply to honor Dr. King, but to honor his legacy through a recommitment to action. And the most important thing I think we can do to honor his legacy is to vote.”
“[The March on Washington] was a march for jobs and it was a march for justice, it was as march for dignity, it was a march that said ‘I am a man’ and ‘I am a woman’ and I deserve to be treated with that dignity.”