In commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. AFSCME and the Church of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC) partnered to create the I AM 2018 Mountaintop Conference. AFSCME and COGIC designed this convening to celebrate, reflect, and show the labor movement that we still have work to do to reach that mountaintop. Here are 10 highlights from the conference:
1. Surviving striking Memphis sanitation workers receive Vanguard Award from the NAACP.
2. Nearly 100 AFGE leaders, activists, and staff convened in Memphis to attend the I AM 2018 conference.
3. AFGE Local 1456 Vice President Francis Nichols III delivered an impassioned speech on the main stage of the I AM 2018 rally where he recognized the contribution of civil rights and AFGE leader Augusta Y. Thomas.
“Unions are rising up! Social justice activists are rising up! The LGBT community is rising up! Did you all see the pictures from the March for Our Lives rally? Our young people are rising up! And we will not be shut down!
4. Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed hundreds of labor and community activists at the #IAM2018 rally.
5. Parkland survivor, Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, spoke throughout the conference.
"[I]f 1,300 sanitation workers could go on strike in the Jim Crow south, if Dr. King could give a speech that students still learn about in school 50 years later, then I know we can make our voice heard, too."— Mei-Ling Ho-Shing of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Miami Herald
6. Powerful words from the AFSCME president.
"We cannot leave Memphis and think that the struggle is over. The struggle will continue. It will always continue. We must leave here recharged, rededicated. We must have a call to action. A call to action every single day. Let's get the job done."— @AFSCME President Lee Saunders
7. The conference also featured a youth town hall.
8. Words from Martin Luther King III.
“Justice must be done, somehow, some way, and right now. There is activity happening in this nation. The young people across this country are going to get registered, and we are going to see progress like we’ve never seen before.”— @OfficialMLK3 #IAM2018
9. Performance by Common and August Greene.
10. Together we march forward.
"Nothing would be more tragic than for us to turn back now." – Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II