(FinalCall.com) – A coalition marched in Newark on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to draw attention to his opposition to the Vietnam War, and argued his legacy on speaking out against injustice and violence must be continued, particularly in speaking out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The march came two days after the January 19 People’s Peace Conference on the War in Iraq and Our Communities, sponsored by the Peace and Justice Coalition, at the Rutgers School of Law. The coalition is made up of more than 100 organizations, representing a broad spectrum of human and civil rights activists, religious, civic, student, labor, peace and other grassroots groups.

The Peace and Justice Coalition had three basic demands coming out of the conference, said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the Peoples Organization for Progress, who served as the conference’s moderator.


“We want an immediate end to the war, the troops brought home now and the money being spent for the war to be redirected toward domestic needs,” Mr. Hamm said.

“I thought the conference was successful in that it strengthened our resolve to make the connection between the trillion dollars being spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the suffering of our people here at home,” he told The Final Call.

We must make our voices heard on this issue, said James Harris, president of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP. “Just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war in Vietnam, we must speak out against this unjust war in Iraq,” he said.

“An action agenda will be produced that can be used to organize and mobilize our communities to bring about the kind of pressure needed to help bring this war to a quick end,” added Jerry Harris, president of the New Jersey Black Issues Convention.