“Warrior for justice” Paul Booth died January 17. On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, the longtime AFSCME leader responded to well-wishers with a note from his hospital bed: “I’ve been lending a hand to AFSCME and the Church of God in Christ on their ambitious plans for the commemoration of the 50 years since the Memphis sanitation strike and Dr. King’s assassination. I encourage you to go to www.iam2018.org to learn about and connect with the effort…On February 1, Local 1733 asks that we join them in a Moment of Silence at 10 am, to reflect on the deaths of Brothers Cole and Walker (the Memphis sanitation workers whose death sparked the 1968 strike), and to recommit to the struggle. In some cities, trash trucks will stop for that Moment; in others, sanitation workers and municipal officials will join for recognition and prayer. Dr. King famously said ‘the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.’ But he knew, and I underline, that it’s up to us to do the bending. We shall do it together." Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME — the organization to which Paul devoted much of his life — said “We should take some time to grieve his loss — and then honor his memory by continuing to fight like hell for social and economic justice. That is exactly what Paul would ask us to do.” Read more about Paul from AFSCME, Harold Meyerson, and the New York Times. Click here if you'd like to send a note to Paul’s wife, organizer Heather Booth, and his family.
Note: AFSCME Council 20 and AFSCME Council 67 are participating in the February 1 Moment of Silence locally; stay tuned for details.
photo: Paul Booth with Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta at the group's 2008 conference in Providence, Rhode Island; photo courtesy JwJ