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Campus reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for economic freedoms

TJC Dialogues discuss value of a dime

By Mary Mone 

Contributing Writer

In hopes of getting students talking about the value of a dime, TJC Dialogues hosted an event about Martin Luther King Jr.

TJC Dialogues is an organization with the goal of, “getting students thinking and talking,” said English Professor Bridget Moore. Being active for three years in TJC Dialogues, Moore has taught many students about the value of a dime.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, TJC Dialogues hosted a showing of The Red Rock Historical Association’s documentary, “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306.” At the start of the event, Moore handed a dime to each person in the room.

 “This year I thought, how can I help them remember the value of a dime? It is more than 10 cents for me,” Moore said.

The dialogue focused on the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, and the meaning behind what happened. King traveled there to help fight for economic equality for the African American sanitation workers. History.com writes, “In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. He organized a Poor People’s Campaign to focus on the issue, including a march on Washington, and in March 1968 traveled to Memphis in support of poorly treated African American sanitation workers.” While advocating for the workers to receive a dime raise, King was assassinated.

To shed light on how the sanitation worker’s pay did not affect King, Moore asked students if they, “ever pause and try to be empathetic to someone else’s situation?” Even though this did not affect him, he still stood by them and advocated for them to be treated justly. King did not just turn the other cheek to people who needed support. Moore’s favorite quote on this subject is, “It’s not what happens to me if I do something, it’s what happens to them if I don’t.”

The Dean of Humanities, Communications and Fine Arts Dr. Linda Gary said how the fight for a decent wage particularly affects college students. 

“You know we have students who go to work full time, they go to school full time and they have a lot of demands on their lives, and minimum wage really hits the lowest economic level,” Gary said. “I mean, it’s going to be difficult to survive on minimum wage. It is a serious issue.” 

This TJC Dialogue event encouraged students to pause and to not take money for granted. The same dime that is seen on the street or between couch cushions is the dime that Martin Luther King Jr. died advocating for.

All students are welcome to attend and participate in the “thinking and talking” mission of the TJC Dialogues. 

There are two events in April, including a Holocaust Remembrance Day and a lecture on worldview. The Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place at 4:30 p.m. on April 20 in the Azalea Garden that is down the steps by Jenkins Hall. The lecture on worldview with Dr. Paul Streufert from the University of Texas at Tyler will take place at 10 a.m. on April 21 in the Board Room. 

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