NBCSL President’s Message Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Washington, D.C. January 18, 2021 The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL)
On behalf of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, I am pleased to offer greetings to all those celebrating our nation’s observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
Dr. King forged a dream out of the values of his faith and the ideals of our nation’s founders. He cherished the dream of a world where human dignity was respected, human rights were protected, and all stood equal before the law. He sought the full realization of the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence.
Dr. King’s advocacy is particularly significant to me inasmuch as the legislative district I represent includes Stone Mountain, Georgia, where prior to being elected to the State legislature, I was the Vice Mayor and chair of the Finance Committee. I authored an ordinance that granted the City the authority to erect the Freedom Bell in the middle of its downtown, commemorating Dr. King’s call in his immortal I Have a Dream speech to let freedom ring, even from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
I remember at the unveiling of the Freedom Bell, on that Martin Luther King Day, some 20 years ago, many in the media were present. Among the questions a reporter posed, was Do you think Dr. King would be pleased with it? I responded, Certainly, he would have appreciated the symbolism that the bell represented. But I think he would have appreciated even more (as I pointed to an ATM machine on the City’s property about 50 feet away), that as Chair of the Finance Committee I placed the entire financial portfolio of the City in the local Black owned bank, thereby creating economic opportunities for the community that were thereto fore unseen. Dr. King also sought economic justice.
So, as we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., let us recommit ourselves to living his dream. As we rejoice in his achievements and mourn again his untimely death, let us emulate the profound conviction and the deep love for humanity that inspired him. Let us work without tiring for a world at peace, in which justice and freedom prevail.