Statement by NBCSL in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The following remarks were released by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not been assassinated 50 years ago, one wonders what the world would have been like today. One also wonders what words of wisdom this ‘Drum Major for Justice,’ ‘Drum Major for Peace,’ and ‘Drum Major for Righteousness’ would offer today’s Americans in the face of the hatred of racism and the darkness of economic despair.

I believe those words would be the same ones he shared from the pulpits, from the labor halls and from the shadow of Abraham Lincoln in our nation’s capital. Dr. King’s words are etched in our hearts and gently echo in our memories. Words like, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ The light of love must prevail so that unity, diversity, and true respect for all must rid our American society of the darkness of hatred that has again emerged from the depths of supremacist and xenophobic Hell.

Yes, America has made progress in the past half century, but the journey continues to be long and treacherous. When the fog of ignorance, arrogance and intolerance cloud men’s vision of truth, Dr. King’s light of love must beam from each of us. As Dr. King said, ‘Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.’

While today’s generations long to have marched alongside Dr. King, the opportunity continues to exist for marching through the sacrifice, suffering and struggle of which he spoke. We must tirelessly and passionately dedicate ourselves to our civic duty of voting for real change that will empower our families and our larger family called community.

As we march toward the Promised Land of freedom, peace and righteousness, be assured that Dr. King will continue to lead as a drum major to that mountaintop and beyond in search of the dream of what America can and will someday be.

May God bless all of you