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Sharpton to talk about labor, civil rights

Famed racial justice and human rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton will give a free and open-to-the-public speech today at the SUB to advocate for the labor movement.

Sharpton’s speech, “The Role of Government,” is sponsored by African-American Student Services and serves as the kick-off event for New Mexico’s African-American Day on Friday.

“We need to get labor and civil rights communities to work together to make sure we create jobs,” Sharpton told the Daily Lobo in a brief interview Wednesday night.

Sharpton will travel around New Mexico on Thursday and Friday to discuss the relationship between the Civil Rights and labor movements.

In a Huffington Post article, Sharpton criticized budget cuts proposed by Gov. Susana Martinez. He said the cuts would take essential benefits away from hard-working government employees.

“Facing a shortfall of an estimated $400 million next year, New Mexico’s Legislature proposed slashing the state budget and consequentially slashing the basic benefits countless workers dedicated their lives securing,” he wrote. “At a time when so many families are struggling to simply put food on their tables, Gov. Martinez of New Mexico would like state workers to contribute even more into their own retirement plans.”

Sharpton told the Daily Lobo he will discuss the issue with the Legislature in Santa Fe.

UNM doesn’t host black leaders of this magnitude often, and Sharpton’s speech will provide a unique educational opportunity, said Scott Carreathers, African-American Student Services director.

“I think a lot of our students don’t either grasp or maybe not even care … about the past, but I think that’s so important that you can have an icon like Rev. Al Sharpton here to possibly talk about that, and just the role of the government and how that affects us presently and for the future,” he said.

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