I AM Change, Hope, Strength, the Difference - 2018

As part of I AM 2018, we ask you to join us on February 1, 2018 in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and across our country, for a national Moment of Silence to remember Echol Cole and Robert Walker, the sanitation men crushed to death, February 1, 1968, 4:20 pm, in the compactor of a malfunctioning, obsolete truck, in which they had sought shelter from a downpour. Their deaths sparked the walkout of 1300 fellow sanitation workers.

Together, we resolve this day to wake up America. There is so much to be done, so much business unfinished from 1968. America needs to re-engage with workers’ aspirations: for dignity on the job, for quality public services, for prosperity to be shared among all of us, for human rights for everyone.

LEARN More about the 50th anniversary of this strike at I AM 2018 website

In 1968, Memphis sanitation workers went on strike to demand fair wages and safe working conditions. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined the strikers in solidarity and delivered his iconic “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech at the historic Mason Temple. Dr. King was assassinated the following day.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) have launched a major 18-month initiative to honor the events of 1968 and connect the legacy of the strikers and Dr. King to current issues facing our nation. The initiative will include organizing, community actions and strategic partnerships. As we move toward November 2018, we will build a movement of dedicated activists who can continue the unfinished work of realizing Dr. King’s dream.