On April 4th 1967, in a speech at Riverside Church entitled “Beyond Vietnam,” Dr. King called for our communities, Black people and poor people, to take the struggle for justice to the “second phase.” Even after the Civil Rights Movement won so called “equality” in 1964, it became clear that the right to sit next to whites at a lunch-counter was useless if we couldn’t afford to pay the price of a meal.

Dr. King came out against the Vietnam War because he saw that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” He saw that the billions of dollars necessary for the needs of the people were being given instead to white corporations that profited by making guns, bombs and planes used to kill poor Vietnamese people. Meanwhile poor Black youth were sent to die in this unjust war while their communities remained impoverished and under funded.
Dr. King called for a “Poor People’s Campaign” that would amass a “non violent interracial army of the poor” to descend on Washington D.C. for an ongoing encampment promoting an Economic Bill of Rights, gauranteeing full-employment and the Right to Work. As Dr. King articulated in 1967, the realization of our dreams depend on dismantling the federal government’s policies that promoted the triple evils of Militarism, Economic Exploitation (Materialism) and Racism.

On April 4th 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee—exactly one year after making this visionary speech-Dr. King was assassinated. The possibility of a Poor People’s movement was too much of a threat to a country built on white supremacy, endless wars, and poverty wages. Dr. King’s life was ended and his call for real equality, the “second phase” in a struggle for justice, was erased from the history books. But his dream will not be extinguished.

Since 2003, the District 7 Advisory Committee, City Councilor Chuck Turner and a group of neighborhood organizers have taken on Dr. King’s unfinished work to Fund the Dream. Today, the US government wastes over $20,600 every single second (over $650 billion) in military spending and for fighting unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is well over 5 times more than we spend on severely lacking housing and healthcare combined. In Massachusetts, we spend over $40,000 to lock up one prisoner (without any programs), but less than $7,000 per child for their education. It is clear that the US government is not interested in the uplift of our communities.

In 1967, Dr. King believed that “our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and to go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to Poverty, Racism and Militarism.” Fund the Dream hopes to recapture this “revolutionary spirit” and supports the Boston Workers Alliance as a project that rebuilds confidence in our ability to bring health, prosperity, and sanity to our community.