Thoughts on Martin Luther King’s Legacy

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WASHINGTON — Japanese American members of Congress observed Martin Luther King’s birthday this week with the following statements:

• Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose): “Today, Jan. 16, our nation honors the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose tireless work for peace and freedom continues to inspire and enrich the lives of countless Americans. Dr. King’s enduring vision of bridging ethnic and social divides is an incomparable guide as we continue to fight for civil rights and equality for all.

“As chair emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I thank Dr. King for paving the way for all communities to reap the benefits of the causes that he championed. Whether it was advocating for voting rights, affordable housing, or educational equity, Dr. King rose above the challenges around him because he believed that every individual – no matter the ethnicity or creed – had the right to pursue the American Dream.

“Let us also remember that MLK Day signifies a day of service, empowering individuals to give back to their communities and to work towards the freedom and social justice that Dr. King strived for. Today, and every day, we all can live Dr. King’s dream by committing to serving our communities and working together to build a better nation for ourselves and future generations.”

• Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), co-chair of the National Service Caucus: “Every January, we are afforded the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of a man who taught our nation what it means to dedicate one’s life to the betterment of their country and their world. As Dr. King once said, ‘Make a career of humanity. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.’

“Dr. King is a shining example of what any one person can accomplish, and through national service, we continue to honor his work and advance his vision. On Monday, as we stop to celebrate Dr. King, I encourage all Americans to remember Dr. King’s words and think of the day as a ‘day on’, rather than a ‘day off.’ …

“Dr. Martin Luther King was, and is, truly one of our nation’s greatest heroes. We must remember to never give up the struggle for justice and equality. On this Martin Luther King Day, I encourage everyone to honor his memory by serving your community and helping the less fortunate.”

• Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Last year, our nation unveiled the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the National Mall. This monument serves as an inspiration for the country we strive to be.

“Today, on this anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we remember his leadership and strive to follow his path … Let us also embrace the theme for this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade on Oahu — ‘Our Lives Begin to End the Day We Become Silent About the Things That Matter’ – as it serves to inspire us to speak out when we encounter injustice in our lives.”

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