Please find here suggestions and examples of ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s anti-Vietnam War speech on April 4, 1967 at the Riverside Church in New York. Your events might take place on or related to the anniversary depending on your community and planning. Please inform VPCC of your plans and events.
1) Organize a program in your church or an ecumenical/interfaith service to read and react to MLK's speech. Outreach to all churches and faiths would be appropriate and special attention to African-American churches, peace and justice groups and civil rights organizations should be made.
2) Organize a candlelight vigil in front of the local office of your member of Congress and read the MLK
3) Arrange a meeting with your local newspaper editorial board and a cross-section of religious and civic
leadership in your community to share your views on the importance and relevance of his speech.
4) Set up an interview with your local radio station (NPR affiliates are most likely to be receptive) to
discuss the relevance of the MLK speech.
5) Organize a public hearing inviting local human and social service leadership to testify about the impact
of the Trump Administration's proposed budget on the people they serve and emphasize the "budget
priorities" message of MLK’s moral warnings.
6) Invite your member of Congress to a "leadership summit" in your community to discuss the impact
of the Trump Administration's budget on citizens in your town and the lessons from the Vietnam War. If
your Congress person or Senator has scheduled a town hall meeting, organize activists from various
groups and constituencies to attend and raise the critical issues in MLK’s speech.
7) Submit an op-ed piece or letter to the editor of your local newspaper about your view of the relevance
of MLK's speech to the budget priorities today and about the military intervention lessons from the
8) Organize an open letter to your local member(s) of Congress from religious and civic leaders from
your community highlighting the message from MLK about the impact of increased military spending on
domestic human needs. Send a copy to your media.
9) Issue your own "call to action" from political, religious, labor and civic leadership in your community
citing MLK's admonition against budget priorities that favor militarism over addressing human needs.
Post it on websites of supporting organizations, send to media and encourage interested persons to share
as widely as possible.
10) Inform the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee of your activities and how we can be
supportive. Include photos and a write-up of your event. Stay in touch regarding future activities around
the Ken Burns VietnamWar documentary on PBS in September, the 50th anniversary of the October
1967 Pentagon March, the annual national recognition of Dr. King’s legacy (1/15/18) and the
commemoration of his assassination (4/4/18). Contact email@example.com
Organization and constituency leaders and individuals are invited to join our call for nationwide readings by clicking here http://tinyurl.com/KingsCall.
For more information on organizing an event, see
To read the full text of Dr. King's speech, click here
To hear the full audio, click here
To see the speech divided into sixteen sections for dramatic group presentations, click here
To view Dr. King's speech being read last year by religious figures, activists and a member of Congress at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, click here
The Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee is committed to insuring that 50th anniversary observations of the war do not obscure its reality and the movement that successfully opposed it. For more information, write Terry Provance firstname.lastname@example.org