Home National news On 55th anniversary Of MLK’s assassination, Rev. Sharpton, Jennifer Jones Austin, Nyu Dean Michael Lindsey consider the nation’s social justice progress

On 55th anniversary Of MLK’s assassination, Rev. Sharpton, Jennifer Jones Austin, Nyu Dean Michael Lindsey consider the nation’s social justice progress

Comes As Trump is indicted by First Black Manhattan DA, same office as The Exonerated 5

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Rev. Al Sharpton with FPWA’s CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin at the Keepers of the Dream gala.

FPWA’s CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin joined Rev. Al Sharpton and NYU Silver School Dean Michael A. Lindsey Monday night to assess the unfinished business of civil rights and social justice 60 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The event comes as the nation remembers the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination on April 4, 1968. 55 years later, MLK’s vision of freedom is now under threat with efforts across the country to systemically roll back progress that has been made in advancing civil rights for marginalized communities and hate crimes on the rise. As New York awaits a finalized State budget held up by bail reform negotiations, Rev. Sharpton urged the need to preserve voting rights and pass police reform during this period of upheaval.

Sharpton and Jones Austin highlighted evidence of social justice progress, including that former President Trump is being arraigned today in the same building where the Exonerated 5 were indicted in 1989. At the time, Trump took out ads in the city’s major newspapers calling for the death penalty. Trump’s criminal charges were pushed forward by Alvin Bragg, the first Black Manhattan District Attorney.

“Today, we cannot just commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Some progress has been made in the last 55 years, but we view this moment as a challenge to continue the work,” Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network.I’m thinking of Dr. King today as the first Black Manhattan DA will deliver us justice and bring criminal charges against President Trump. I’m thinking of the Exonerated 5, who were not just victims of a criminal justice system that did not protect them, but also of vitriol and hate spewed by men like Trump. But today we see progress with the arc of history bending towards justice, just as Dr. King saidWhile we celebrate this moment of justice on the anniversary of King’s assassination, we have to remember the work is not done. Those that despise us are united in their hatred, and we must come together in a common bond to fight for freedom for all of us.”

“Today marks a real indicator of social justice progress. As we remember Dr. King today and all that he stood for, the first Black Manhattan District Attorney is holding President Trump accountable for his alleged crimes. A man who has built his legacy on the backs of those less fortunate and less powerful is finally being brought to justice,” said Jennifer Jones Austin,CEO and Executive Director of FPWA and Visiting Scholar for the NYU Silver School of Social Work.“Although there is still much more work to do, I am filled with hope for the future of civil rights and social justice work. As we look ahead, I am honored to work alongside Rev. Sharpton in continuing Dr. King’s vision and delivering freedom and equality for our communities.”

“We are incredibly grateful to have had Reverend Al Sharpton and Jennifer Jones Austin join us at NYU for this critical conversation. At the Silver School of Social Work, the pillars of social justice are at the core of our approach to social work,” said Michael A. Lindsey, Dean of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work. “As we look back on the progress that we have achieved as a city and a country, we must also think about our next steps to ensure that those who are most vulnerable have access to services that uplift and empower. On the 55th anniversary of his death, we remember that we must all work together to fulfill Dr. King’s legacy.”  

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