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New Orleans MLK Day Fight Back March: Unite for Black power! Community control now!

By Antonia Mar

Marchers take to the streets on MLK Day in New Orleans. | Fight Back! News/Hayden Legg

New Orleans, LA – On Monday, January 15 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police (NOCOP) hosted an MLK Fight Back March starting at A.L. Davis Park at noon. About 100 members of the community came out in attendance, even marching in the rain as showers briefly passed over the demonstration.

They chanted “New Orleans, we’re on a roll, we’re fighting for community control!” as they took the streets down Claiborne Avenue and MLK Boulevard.

Entering 2024, New Orleans faces a crisis of corruption and unaccountable leadership. Mayor LaToya Cantrell is under federal investigation, the New Orleans Police Department is in violation of the federal consent decree, and several more public institutions, such as schools and the Sewerage and Water Board, also remain under consent decrees due to underfunding and mismanagement.

NOCOP and endorsers marched to bring together as many as can be united for the advancement of the struggle against white supremacy, corrupt police and undemocratic leadership in New Orleans. All united under the slogans “Unite for Black power! Community control of police, schools, and all public institutions now!”

As New Orleans is a majority-Black city, this demand is directly tied to the empowerment of the Black community to have a democratic say over our public institutions and how they are run.

Noonie Man, from New Orleans United Front, spoke on the need for building the demand of Black power in the city. “We want to push the Black agenda in New Orleans,” he said. “We must hold all politicians accountable. I don’t care if it's the mayor, I don’t care if it's the police chief, I don’t care if it’s the council – I don't care who it is! We need to shut the city of New Orleans down and make them respect us.”

Gregory Jean, a member of the New Orleans City Workers Organizing Committee, spoke on how the image of MLK has been watered down in mainstream media since his assassination. Jean said King “was anti-imperialist, against U.S. militarism, the exploitation and occupation of poor people, and promoted radical exploitation of wealth locally and globally. If Dr. King were here today, he’d be in the streets to Stop Cop City and chanting ‘From the river to the sea!’”

The march was also part of an effort to apply pressure on the new New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick to attend a public town hall meeting, where she would discuss her upcoming plans for the police department and answer questions from concerned residents and activists. Her appointment was pushed through by Mayor Cantrell in 2023, with zero input from any of the public.

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