I just did some fist pumping in Connecticut for this speech in Wisconsin!
Watch Dr. Margaret Rozga deliver some powerful smack down to Scott Walker at the recent MLK event at the Wisconsin capitol building – and note that Walker is a few seats away.
Dr. Rozga is the widow of Father Groppi, a powerful civil rights leader in Milwaukee during the mid-60’s.
According to DKOS blogger noise of rain, Dr. Rozga was accepting a posthumous MLK Heritage Award given to her deceased husband when she uttered these words.
[And here’s an abbreviated vimeo back-up]
“As a person who got her start in the civil rights movement by volunteering to work on Southern Christian Leadership voter registration campaign in Alabama, I know that those who oppose any curtailment of voting rights are not in the traditions of Martin Luther King and James Groppi.
As the widow of a man who after we married not only drove a bus, but became president of local 998 Amalgamated Transit Union, as a person who remembers that Martin Luther King was killed while he was working to organize sanitation workers, I know that anyone who works to curtail union rights is not in the tradition of Martin Luther King!
And as someone who is a member of a family that loves Wisconsin’s natural resources, I know, that if you endanger those resources, you are not standing with us.
You do not get arrested thirty plus times, you do not get assassinated, for being a photo-op do-gooder. Father James Groppi was more, and did more, and so he lives on. He believed in addressing the root causes of poverty, and those causes are backwards social policy. He believed in the tradition summarized by St. Thomas Aquinas that the “super-abundance of the rich belongs by natural right to the poor.” He believed, like Frederick Douglas, that “power concedes nothing without a demand: it never did and it never will.”
“So what I want to do most of all before I close here is to thank those who are standing up in the tradition of Martin Luther King and James Groppi. I want to thank Voces de la Frontera and their youth group, YES. I want to thank the people on strike at Palermo’s Pizza. I want to thank The Overpass Light Brigade and The Solidarity Singers, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, people who took care of this land before my grandparents came from Poland…”
Hat tip to noise of rain and to Ryan Wherley for blogging and sharing notes on this event!
UPDATE 11:51 EST 01/22/2013:
It seems that the second broadcast of the WI MLK event on Wisconsin Public Television removed a portion of Dr. Rozga’s speech. I would appreciate it if anybody who also observed this would add a comment on this blog post to corroborate. This paragraph comes from Arthur Kohl-Riggs:
“Last night while I was watching the WPT 21.2 WIS broadcast of the MLK Jr. ceremony I noticed that they cut out the entire middle section of Dr. Margaret Rozga’s speech including both times she asserts that anyone who attacks union rights is not in the tradition of MLK Jr.”
UPDATE 6:30 PM EST 01/22/2013
From Joyce S.:
This is the answer I received back from TV station: ” Due to time limitations in editing a two-hour live event into a one-hour broadcast, many aspects of the two-hour event did not make the one-hour version. WPT is proud of our historic partnership with the MLK event and we work to ensure the viewers of Wisconsin have as much access as we can provide. The program was broadcast twice, in full and abridged versions, and livestreamed via the web. The full version is online for anyone who wishes to watch.
Watch MLK 2013 Tribute: Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around on PBS. See more from WPT Presents.