Chairman Cleaver’s Statement Commemorating the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
“As we commemorate the 26th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, it is important that we take a moment to pause and reflect on this holiday’s significance and meaning. Dr. King — champion of the non-violent movement— dedicated his life to right the wrongs of our country’s past. He defended the defenseless, spoke for the voiceless, and stood on the side of justice and peace. The Civil Rights Movement was instrumental in its success and Dr. King’s nonviolent methods served not only to legitimize the movement, but as inspiration for other civil rights movements both domestic and abroad.
“In a time when politics has outweighed legislative productivity and many have lost sight of the people we have come to Congress to serve, I cannot help but think he would not be pleased with the road upon which we are traveling. Dr. King once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?‘. He not only espoused great ideals but worked tirelessly to promote them and never lost sight of his goal, the betterment of all people. Today, we are reaping the benefits of Dr. King’s work and legacy. As a nation we enjoy more freedoms and equality than our parents generation. Together, we have made great strides in making the promise of America the practice; however, to say that we have a long way to go is far beyond the obvious. As Dr. King stated ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle’.
“Today is not just about celebrating the life and accomplishments of this great man, but rather to rededicate ourselves to the struggle for his dream of justice, equality, fairness and peace. I encourage everyone to participate in the MLK Day of Service and use this time to serve your community and our great nation.
‘There is still much work to be done. I along with the 43 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus remain dedicated to work and fight for his dream.”
-Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II