1199ers Rally to Keep the Dream Alive in Maryland’s Capital

January 1, 1970

On January 16th, Martin Luther King Day, hundreds of Maryland 1199ers rallied with union members and progressives from across the state at the capitol in Annapolis and called on elected leaders to promote legislation that lives up to the vision of Dr. King.With Maryland’s 2012 legislative session just getting underway, rally speakers, including 1199 President George Gresham, linked Dr. King’s vision with upcoming legislation such as the DREAM Act benefiting immigrant students and the MarriageEquality bill benefiting all couples.President Gresham both inspired and challenged the crowd with his remarks: “We’re here today to give honor to Dr. King and the dream that he had. The question is, are we going to dream the dream? Or are we going to live the dream?”Earlier this year, Governor Martin O’Malley renewed his support for the Marriage Equality bill, which would allow same-sex couples to marry in the state of Maryland.U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) also spoke in support of Marriage Equality at the rally. “I was married for a little while,” Edwards joked. “Then I chose not to be. In the state of Maryland I could. That should be the case for all Marylanders.”The DREAM Act, which was passed into law in 2011, allows children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition in Maryland. But the law, challenged by state Republicans, now must be approved as a ballot initiative in Maryland during the 2012 election cycle.Deborah Odom, a nurse’s aide at Harborside Nursing Home, believes the late Dr. King would support such a law. “He preached a message of equality for all people,” Odom said. “I believe that if he were here today he would be standing alongside us, working to promote the DREAM Act and give these young people a chance to go to college,” she said.Members of 1199SEIU will continue fighting for equality in Maryland during the legislative session and will return to Annapolis on February 14th to meet with state lawmakers and continue promoting Marriage Equality and the DREAM Act.- See more at: http://www.1199seiu.org/1199ers_rally_to_keep_the_dream_alive_in_maryland_s_capital#sthash.2MLSB7pU.dpuf