By Anna Orso
Four days before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in during a ceremony in Washington, thousands of Philadelphians are expected to protest “the ascension of right wing extremism into the highest levels of American public life” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
A conglomerate of more than 30 organizations has teamed up to form the MLK DARE (Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) Coalition, a group that “will come together to advance an alternative vision of America’s future — one grounded in equality, justice, and shared prosperity for all Americans,” organizers said in a news release.
On Monday, the march will begin at 11 a.m. at the President’s House at Sixth and Market, which commemorates the site of the first executive mansion and the slaves who worked there. Marchers will head south to Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, where they’ll hold a public demonstration outdoors from noon to 2 p.m. on the corner of Sixth and Lombard streets. Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler of Mother Bethel is among the march organizers.
And that location isn’t an accident. Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church is where, 200 years ago in January 1817, some 3,000 free African Americans gathered to publicly denounce a plan to deport free blacks to West Africa. After the meeting, the plan failed to gain the traction it needed to work.
Some of the organizations involved in the march are: P.O.W.E.R. (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild), Unite HERE, SEIU32BJ, Working Families Party, Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Black Clergy of Philadelphia, Fight for 15, EQAT, IfNotNow, National Action Network, Black Lives Matter, Food and Water Watch, Philadelphia Student Union, and many others.
Monday’s march will be among several large-scale demonstrations slated for inauguration week, including the Women’s March on Philadelphia scheduled for the day after Trump’s inauguration.