On February 1, we paused for a moment of silence to remember Echol Cole and Robert Walker, 50 years to the day after they were killed in an on-the-job accident in Memphis, Tennessee. This tragedy moved their fellow AFSCME sanitation workers to action, sparking a two-month strike that became an important milestone in the struggle for racial and economic justice.
The moment of silence was observed in more than 70 locations — at city halls, on college campuses, in local parks and more. Watch this video to see how people across the country honored Brothers Cole and Walker.
This is only the beginning of our tribute to the sanitation workers and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose support for the strike cost him his life. Throughout this year and beyond, the I AM 2018 campaign will draw inspiration from the heroes of Memphis, training thousands of activists to make change in their communities. I AM 2018 isn’t just a commemoration; it’s a call to action.
In cities nationwide, we will gather to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and the sanitation workers. Just as they did half a century ago, we will demand an end to the rigged economy. We will stand up to the wealthy special interests behind Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, a Supreme Court case that threatens our freedom to stand together in a strong union.