Teach MLK Workshop 2012


Wednesday, Jan. 18

5:00 to 6:30 2028 Brown Hall




“Martin Luther King, Jr. & Occupy Wall Street”
Dr. Allen Webb



Dr. Linwood Cousins, School of Social Work


Keynote Address:

Dr. Don Cooney, Member Kalamazoo City Council, Former candidate US Congress, WMU Professor of Social Work


Discussion Sessions


Martin Luther King, Jr. & Occupy Wall Street

On Martin Luther King's Birthday just past the Occupy Wall Street Movement and religious leaders protested at 13 locations of the Federal Reserve Bank across the United States, in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco and St. Louis.

President Obama and MLK's children have all said that if he were alive today he would support the Occupy Wall Street Movement.



Why? What is Occupy Wall Street About?

What does the media tell us?

tom tomorrow
Tom Tomorrow



Economic Justice and Increasing Inequality

Economic inequality has been dramatically increasing in America since late 1970s to the present.
America now has the highest level of income inequality in the developed world.


Americans simply don't know what is happening.




Real issue is not the top 1%, it's the top .01%

  • In 1960 CEO's made 30x salary of the average worker, in 2000 over 300+x.
  • Goldman Sachs offering average bonuses of $430,000 while a record 43,200,000 Americans receive food stamps.
  • Six members of the Walton family (Walmart) have more wealth than 92 million Americans combined. (30% of entire population)


Political Consequences

  • Contributions to campaigns
  • Impact legislation
  • Stop unions
  • Change tax codes
    • marginal tax rates reduced from 90+% (1940s-1960s) to 35% (2003-present)
    • average federal income tax rate for the 400 most super rich (average income of $345 million in 2007, the most recent year for IRS data) was 17%
    • the 2001 Bush tax cut gave almost 40 percent of the cut to the richest 1%.
    • General Electric, largest American corporation and huge military contractor, in 2010 had profits of $14.2 Billion, and not only paid no taxes, but claimed and was given from tax payers a benefit (not refund) of $3.2 Billion -- GE tax department has 975 employees -- GE owns NBC television
  • Reduce support for schools, social services and social programs



Student Debt -- Connect the Dots

Declining State Taxes

Leads to Decreasing Support of Higher Education (WMU 70% to 24%)

state support


Equals increasing tuition



In 2010 college student debt exceeds all credit card debt combined, more than $1 trillion.




Additional information: Inequality of Wealth, America's Rich Get Richer, What the Rich Don't Want You to Know about Taxes