April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.
And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King’s lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have chosen to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity, and indeed the lives of the vast majority, really do not matter.
Dr. King’s words linking the three evils of American society: Militarism, Racism and Poverty, and his deeply profound remark that every bomb that falls on other countries is a bomb dropped on our inner cities, reveal the deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic and environmental injustices that now impoverish whole cities and rural communities and have plagued our society and the world for a long time. It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and declaring that he could not be silent.
We cannot be silent either. As Rev. King taught us, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Every year NATO has held its summits, people around the world have organized massive protests against it: in Chicago (2012), Wales (2014), Warsaw (2016), Brussels (2017 & 2018) — and 2019 will be no exception.
We are calling for a peaceful mass mobilization against this year’s NATO Summit in Washington, D.C.
We ask you to make every effort to join with us in Washington DC, or, if not possible, organize a rally or demonstration in your area. We need to show, in the strongest possible way, our opposition to NATO’s destructive wars and its racist military policies around the world.
Here is a list of events:
Saturday, March 30 – No to NATO March – Meet at Lafayette Square Park. 16th and H Streets NW in Washington, DC at 1:00 pm.
Sunday, March 31 – Concert – In Franklin Square Park from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Organized by the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign.
Sunday, March 31 – World Peace Council Anti-NATO Conference, All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard St., NW, Washington, D.C., 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2 – No to NATO—Yes to Peace and Disarmament Counter Summit, organized by the American Friends Service Committee.
Wednesday, April 3 – No to NATO, Yes to Peace Festival – at St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010:
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Art-Making Workshop, and nonviolent action prep workshops (munch on vegan snacks, make art, and plan for the April 4 protest)
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Keynote Speeches (List of speakers)
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Art-Making & Exhibits, Interactive Booths, Vegan Food & Drink (all available throughout the evening)
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Concert
Thursday, April 4 – Plans are in flux. The current plan is to meet at the Einstein Memorial near Constitution Ave. and 21st St., NW, at 8:00 am for a march to the site of the NATO meeting. Procession from MLK Memorial to rally at Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C., during the day, 11:00 am, MLK Memorial. Subject to change.
Thursday, April 4 – Black Alliance for Peace’s 2nd Anniversary Event: No Compromise, No Retreat in the Fight to End Militarism and War, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C., 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Lodging will be available at First Trinity Church, which is on the corner of 4th and E Sts, NW, across from the Judiciary Square metro station from Saturday, March 30 to Thursday, April 4. The church provides mattresses on the floor, a kitchen, showers and a place to lock up your gear during the day. Bring your own bedding, towels and toiletries. The cost is $30/night.
To register for Saturday through Tuesday, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for Wednesday to Thursday, click here.