The Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Project is currently under construction inside Chicago’s historic Marquette Park. This memorial commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Chicago Freedom Movement that included a daring march led by Dr. King and nearly 700 other activists, organizers and community residents through the park to challenge the city and country to end oppression and bigotry and live up to higher ideals.
On August 6, 2016, thousands of people will gather to recall the powerful legacy of that march, and to take lessons from it as they confront today’s urgent struggles for justice, equity and dignity.
I’m excited about the MLK Living Memorial’s potential to raise public consciousness about Dr. King’s lesser-known work in alliance with poor and working people, and my enthusiasm is just as great for the recognition of the work of other fearless, devoted human rights leaders. One of those leaders is my teacher, America’s Imam, the Muslim-American Spokesman for Human Salvation, Imam Warithuddeen Mohammed.
The Imam’s words, image and leadership will be memorialized alongside Dr. King and several other icons.
Folks may ask about the connection between an imam and a reverend, a Muslim and a Christian, Dr. King and Imam W.D Mohammed. Our imam addressed this during his final “Ramadan Session”, with Dr. King’s message and memory clearly weighing heavily on his heart and mind. He said “Dr Martin Luther King, a great speaker, great man, a man driven by a human spirit, the same human spirit that was in Muhammad the Prophet (SAW). It is one human spirit for all of us and it wants excellence. Someone may think he’s the son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and he’s calling Dr. King our leader? Yes, I am. Wake up! Our leader Dr. Martin Luther King a great, powerful man of moral determination and moral spirit to do away with injustice to people. Dr. King was a man of excellent character and a man with a spirit for justice who came from his human sense of value and nobility. We don’t have those leaders popular anymore!” (Oct 7, 2007 Ramadan Session)
As a student and indebted admirer of Imam W.D. Mohammed, I am proud to see his name and works being acknowledged alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Imam W.D Mohammed died in 2008, however for his hundreds of thousands of students, he continues to live in us. Thus, this memorial is a great honor and tribute to the community of Imam W.D. Mohammed.
The MLK Living Memorial project is led by The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Imam W.D Mohammed praised and celebrated this organization for its social justice work, primarily in inner-city Chicago and now also in Atlanta. This memorial will be at the epicenter of one of the largest, most inclusive outdoor festivals in the country: Takin’ It to the Streets. This urban international festival attracts over 20,000 people with its inspiring workshops, performances and calls for community action.
“There are two things I will never give up”, Imam W.D Mohammed said “ Al-Islam and my African-American identity”. For generations to come, Muslims, Christians and all people of faith will benefit from the legacy of Dr. King, Imam Mohammed and others who worked tirelessly for the establishment of freedom, justice and equality for all people. Let us show our support by coming out in the thousands to witness for ourselves the power of faith, joining together in goodness and forbidding what is evil and putting our trust in G’d. Join us Saturday, August 6th at Chicago’s Marquette Park for a day we will never forget. . Visit www.streets2016.com