MLK

When Kennedy Odede was a kid, he lived on the streets of a slum in Kenya.

He'd grown up in tough circumstances. His stepfather was violent. There wasn't enough food to go around. He wasn't sent to school. A friend convinced him he'd do better out on his own. He'd have his freedom, he'd be able to find his own food.

So when he was around 10, Kennedy left home. His new world was a world of violence. He was caught up in gang fights. He remembers being stabbed in the arm: "I still have the scar," he says.

Peter Haden / WLRN

As the nation is preparing to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, local law enforcement has a message for anyone planning to participate in any illegal MLK Day ATV rides. 

“If you’re planning on disrupting traffic, or endangering the lives of yourselves or anyone else, you will be dealt with from a zero-tolerance standpoint,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

Israel joined state and local law enforcement agencies at a press conference Thursday to warn against any illegal riding of off-road vehicles Monday.

Kate Stein / WLRN

 

In 10 U.S. cities, airport workers spent MLK Day on Monday protesting for higher wages and collective organizing rights. One of those protests was in Miami.

The protest took place in front of the Eulen America building near Miami International Airport. Eulen subcontracts airplane cleaners and other workers for several major airlines. Workers say the company has threatened or fired employees who attempt to unionize.

Eulen did not respond to WLRN’s request for comment. But the protest wasn’t targeting just one company.

Bob Adelman

Today, Florida’s poverty rate is just over 17 percent and the city of Miami’s hit 29.5 percent in the most recent Census data. At the end of the 1960s, poverty levels in the South hovered around 18 percent of the population.

It was during that time when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent much of his energy organizing what he called the "Poor People's Campaign." It worked to achieve economic justice and equality for poor people -- a disproportionate number of whom were black.

Tsitsi Wakhisi

For the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the 1963 March on Washington, many can recount the moving moments of that day.

But for a particular group of four ladies, the impact of the event is still profoundly felt decades later. All were young teens at the time of Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, but didn’t attend the march.

President Obama will stand in the symbolic shadows of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday, as he marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Aides say Obama will use the opportunity to celebrate the progress that's been made, thanks to the civil rights movement. He'll also discuss the work that he says still has to be done to realize King's dream of racial justice in America.

That includes fighting to protect voting rights and building what the president calls "ladders of opportunity" for poor people of all races.

Bob Adelman

Editor's Note: Below are Americans with South Florida connections who went to hear the Rev. Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., one of the most significant civil rights events in history.  Their bios are compiled from public and private sources. Listen to what they have to say. 

SHIRLEY JOHNSON