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Rep. John Lewis Celebrates the King Holiday

January 13, 2012
Press Release

In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, Rep. John Lewis made these comments:

This is the first holiday marking the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. that we can stand in the shadow of his statue on the National Mall.  The King Memorial holds a special place in the hearts of all Atlantans who can see one of their favorite sons honored among the presidents and founders of this nation.  It says something about the power of his message and the universal impact of his service that this young Southern preacher, never elected to any public office would have his contribution commemorated in the frontyard of America.
If Dr. King were here today, he would tell us that there are still too many Americans who are left out and left behind, locked out beyond the gates to opportunity and success.  And he would warn that there are forces today that are trying, and succeeding in some ways, to take us back to a time when the benefits of this wealthy nation were only available to a few.
He would remind us that freedom is not free.  It requires the vigilant action of every individual in a democracy to exercise the privileges of this system and demand greater equity and access where rights are still restricted.  If Dr. King were here today, he would still be saying that the discipline and philosophy of non-violence is still the most excellent way to find justice.  He would say that there is no way to peace.  Peace is the way.