Rosa Clemente’s speech begins at 57 minutes in.

“Africans who were enslaved did not vote to get free. They fought to get free. They read to get free. They organized to get free.”

Last Saturday, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center celebrated 36 years of people-powered change, with a keynote address from organizer, journalist, scholar, and former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s tragic murder in our city, and our founders felt that we have a special responsibility as Memphians to continue the work of Dr. King, Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, and many others. Today, with a presidential agenda that strips our most vulnerable communities of dignity and safety, the stakes have gotten higher. We need to build power for the people most affected by the issues. And the Center continues to pursue that goal in our work around public transit, criminal justice reform, homelessness, neighborhood organizing, and renter’s rights.

Our keynote speaker, Rosa Clemente, has been a prominent figure in Black and Latinx struggles throughout her long career. From her central role in the world of hip-hop activism, to her research on Black and Brown liberation movements, to her Vice Presidential run in 2008, Clemente understands that we should be fighting for social change on all fronts. According to legendary rap artist and activist Chuck D, “Rosa speaks from the heart with truth, fire, and passion. She is one of this generation’s most important political voices and community organizers.”