To quote from historians Timothy McCarthy and John McMilian’s 2003 The Radical Reader:Today, every state in the Union pays annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Not a January passes that we are not reminded, in schools, on op-ed pages, and even in television advertisements, that King devoted the best years of his life to nonviolence and civil rights. At this very moment, Dr. King’s portrait hangs proudly in the Bush White House. But how much do students know about the popular resistance and government repression that King faced while he was still alive, or the thorny questions he raised about American materialism, militarism and classism? Who recalls that even as King was doing his good work, federal agents worked behind the scenes to smear him, tapping his phones, sending him threatening mail and trying to discredit him among journalists, donors, and supporters?
The emphasis of MLK Now, an annual event hosted by Blackout for Human Rights, is to build on King’s legacy by continuing to advocate for his life’s work and to take difficult stances that still place us in an ideological minority today. The event was held this past MLK Day at The Riverside Church in Harlem, where King delivered his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech. It featured a wide range of personalities, including “1619 Project” creator Nikole Hannah-Jones, author Ta’Nehisi Coates, musicians J. Cole and Black Thought, activists Alicia Garza and Rosa Clemente, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch

Anthony Kennedy Just Retired From the Supreme Court (FYI: That’s a Really Big Deal)

At the end of the Supreme Court’s current session, longtime Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the nation’s highest court. Kennedy was appointed during the Reagan administration. The magnitude of this retirement cannot be understated. CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted out after the announcement that “abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”