ATLANTA (AP) — Americans must engage in the unfinished work of Martin Luther King Jr., provide jobs and justice, and protect “the sacred right to vote, a right from which all other rights flow,” said President Joe Biden on Monday.
Martin Luther King Day is a time when a mirror is held up to America, the president said in a video address.
“It’s time for every American elected official to make clear where they stand,” Biden said. “It’s time for every American to stand up. Speak up, be heard. Where do you stand?”
Major holiday events included marches in several cities and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. service at the civil rights leader’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock serves as senior pastor. The pews have been packed with politicians in recent years, but given the pandemic, many have offered pre-recorded speeches instead.
The holiday marks what would have been the 93rd birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who was just 39 when he was assassinated in 1968 while helping sanitation workers strike for a best pay and job security in Memphis, Tennessee.
King’s eldest son on Monday slammed Biden and Congress as a whole for failing to pass suffrage legislation, even as 19 Republican-led states made it harder to vote in response to false government claims. President Donald Trump Regarding Election Rigging.
“You have succeeded with the infrastructure, which is a good thing – but we need you to use that same energy to ensure that all Americans have the same unfettered right to vote,” said Martin Luther King III.
Senate Republicans remain united against Democrats’ ballot bills. Biden described their blocking as part of “a real attack on our democracy, from the Jan. 6 insurgency to the assault on Republican anti-vote laws in a number of states.”
“It’s not just about who votes anymore. It’s about who counts the vote. And if your vote matters at all. It’s about two insidious things: voter suppression and electoral subversion,” Biden said.
Vice President Kamala Harris sent a message to the Ebenezer service, stating that “in Georgia and across our country, anti-election laws are being passed that could make it harder for 55 million to vote. of Americans…that’s one out of six people in our country.
“We know this attack on our freedom to vote will be felt by every American, in every community, in every political party,” she said.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, responded with a series of King Day-themed videos that he said would highlight positive developments in civil rights. Scott has avoided criticism of GOP actions and accused Democrats of calling members of his party racist.
“To compare or confuse people who oppose his positions as racists and traitors to the country is not only insulting and infuriating, it is completely untrue,” Scott told The Associated Press.
Warnock, currently up for re-election as Georgia’s first black senator, said in his speech to the sparse Ebenezer crowd that “everybody loves Dr. King, but they don’t always love what he stands for. “.
“Let the word out, you can’t remember Dr. King and dismember his legacy at the same time,” Warnock said. “If you speak his name, you must stand up for the right to vote, you must stand up on behalf of the poor, the oppressed and the disenfranchised.”
King, who delivered his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech while leading the 1963 March on Washington and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, saw racial equality as inseparable from poverty reduction and the end of the war. His emphasis on nonviolent protest continues to influence activists working for civil rights and social change.
The U.S. economy “has never worked fairly for black Americans — or, really, any American of color,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a Monday speech, one of many national leaders acknowledging the unmet needs for racial equality on Martin Luther King. Day.
Yellen referenced King’s famous speech in remarks she recorded for the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network breakfast in Washington, noting the financial metaphor he used to describe promises of gender equality. founding fathers.
King said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that “America has defaulted on this promissory note as far as her citizens of color are concerned.” He called it “an NSF check, a check that came back with insufficient funds”. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt!
“It’s compelling rhetoric, but I also think Dr. King knew it was more than a metaphor. He knew economic injustice was tied to the larger injustice he was fighting against. reconstruction in Jim Crow, until today, our economy has never worked fairly for black Americans — or, really, for any American of color,” Yellen said.
She said the Biden administration has sought to ensure that no economic institution works for people of color, bolstering fairness in the US bailout and pumping $9 billion into financial institutions run by people of color. communities and minorities underserved by Wall Street.
Former President Barack Obama shared a photo of King’s granddaughter, Yolanda, admiring a bust of the civil rights leader he kept in the Oval Office. “The fight for the right to vote takes perseverance,” Obama tweeted. “As Dr. King said, ‘There are no big highways to lead us easily and inevitably to quick fixes. We must continue. May we honor his memory with actions forged in faith.
King “saw a great injustice in his world and fought to right that wrong,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said in a recorded message played to Ebenezer. “His methods ultimately led to success and showed us all that taking the high road is the best path to achieving lasting change.”
Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is trying again to defeat Kemp as he seeks re-election, tweeted that King’s call remains clear: “Do justice to the poor, protect those targeted by hate, defend the freedom of vote and demand that our leaders fight the wickedness of today as the best bulwark against future harm.
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