Honoring MLK: The unfinished business of our movement

I find myself in slight disbelief that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

Every time I walk past the MLK memorial here in Washington a different quote sticks out. His words and vision remain both eternally relevant and awkwardly appropriate to our current moment and the unfinished business of our movement.

This year we celebrate half a century of progress toward Dr. King’s work for racial and economic justice. But we do so in a country that remains divided, the nation of Charlottesville and #MeToo.

Yesterday, an ex-employee of segregationist Strom Thurmond united with civil rights leaders to launch the new Poor People’s campaign – to call attention to racism, poverty and ecological devastation. The campaign is inspired directly by 1968, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

But today, an entire bookshelf of civil rights, environmental and consumer protection laws and regulations is under review by anti-government zealots who want to move the nation backwards, not forwards.

This includes the 1968 Fair Housing Act and the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, both essential tools to keep housing and banking free of discrimination.

We must do everything in our power to challenge the hate mongers whose futures rely on class and racial warfare. For working-class Americans and the poor, things will get even worse until we change who represents the people of this nation.

I hold great optimism that 2018 will be a year when we, the public and working-class Americans, of all colors, see what is happening in DC and our nation.  Big money, divisive media, disinformation and foreign actors have facilitated the theft of our Democracy.

We must make sure every decent person who believes in fairness, civility, kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, justice and collaboration votes in the 2018 election.

NCRC is poised and ready to lead and support our members and allies in this fight against greed and hatred. You inspire and empower us, and we thank you for that.

At his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Evil was triumphant in 2017, but the unarmed truth will have the final word.

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