Baltimore march honors Dr. King’s fight against war and racism

SLL photo: Sharon Black

Braving a blizzard, two dozen people marched through Baltimore city’s oppressed neighborhoods for three hours on Jan. 18. They carried signs demanding “Stop food stamp cuts” and a beautiful red banner with the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which read: “Jobs, education and healthcare, not racism and war!”

“We demanded no cuts to food stamps, disability benefits or Medicaid,” explained march organizer Miranda Bachman of the Peoples’ Power Assembly. “Then we caravaned to Washington, D.C., where we were welcomed by representatives of the FMLN of El Salvador for a gathering in solidarity with anti-imperialist movements in Latin America.”

Marchers reported an especially strong response from the community on the issue of cuts to the SNAP food assistance program (food stamps). Up to 15,000 Baltimore residents could lose food assistance under Trump administration rule changes set to take effect in April, in a city where a quarter of the population already faces hunger.

The Peoples’ Power Assembly in Baltimore initiated a call to “Reclaim and honor Dr. King by resisting war and racism” in the wake of U.S. war provocations in the Middle East, including the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani while he was on a peace mission to Iraq.

“In 1967 on April 4, Dr. King passionately spoke out against the Vietnam War,” said the call, which was endorsed by many national and local groups. “He exclaimed that the bombs in Vietnam also exploded at home in our decaying cities. These words are just as true today. Donald Trump and the trillion dollar oil and fracking businesses stand to profit from a war on Iran and Iraq while the people of the world suffer.

“In Baltimore, we remember Trump’s hateful racism in describing our city and attacking Congressman Cummings. His insults hurled at our city are comparable to his attempts to demonize the people of Iran and Iraq to justify war for oil profits.

“This is the same white supremacist ideology that justifies the assassination of foreign officials of color and the nearly one million Iraqi children killed by U.S. war. These are war crimes. We will not be fooled by those who would dismiss the humanity of our international family.”