Report on 2004 Public Education Forum on Martin Luther King
By Mitchell Szczepanczyk

Nearly 200 people attended a public education forum organized by Chicago Media Action and held on January 18, 2004. The forum, entitled "Martin Luther King Jr. Identified the REAL Axis of Evil: Poverty, Racism, and War" took place at Chicago Temple in downtown Chicago, and included a variety of different presentations. [Disclaimer: The author of this was also one of the event's organizers.]

A series of opening remarks were made by two CMA organizers--Karen Bond and Larry Duncan. Then, Katie Jordan of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, gave a presentation introducing the documentary "At The River I Stand" -- a 56-minute documentary about the civil rights movment.

Then CMA aired a 23-minute excerpt of the "Why I Oppose The War in Vietnam" speech that Dr. King gave in Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967 (exactly one year to the day before his death). The speech was then followed by two commentary presentations, one by Salim Muwakkil (In These Times and Chicago Tribune columnist) and another by Cliff Kelley (radio broadcaster with WVON and V103).

The audience then took part in a sing-a-long, featuring the Stevie Wonder song "Happy Birthday", which was written as part of the efforts to make Dr. King's birthday a national holiday. A question-and-answer session involving both the audience and the presenters followed.

CAN-TV videotaped the entire presentation for future rebroadcast, and CMA audiotaped the presentation for later radio and web rebroadcast. Two organizers with Chicago Media Action--Karen Bond and Bob Gallie--appeared on Cliff Kelley's WVON radio show on Wednesday, January 15.