At the time of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination almost fifty years ago, he was deeply engaged in the fight against the triple evils of racism, militarism, and materialism. He was committed to building a movement to challenge the concentration of economic power at the top of our society. With the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act signed into law, Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support municipal sanitation workers who were striking after two of their members, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were killed by garbage compactors at work. His belief that we would one day achieve the beloved community was expressed so eloquently the night before his death in the speech, “I've Been to the Mountaintop.”
Dr. King's legacy is carried on in Our Revolution's struggle to realize racial, social, economic, and environmental justice across America. Like Dr. King, we are working to build a society that does not wage unjust wars, whether in Vietnam or Iraq. Dr. King's Dream is about reforming our economic system so that a child's future is not predetermined by their parents' wealth, education, or zip code. It is about eradicating the institutional barriers that have kept people of color and those who speak other languages from the prosperous livelihood we call the American Dream. We march, speak, organize, work, and vote to bring Dr. King's ideas to life because his Dream is the true American Dream.
Dr. King would be proud of the coalition our movement is building because, despite the divisions in our society, the vast majority of people recognize the need for respect, compassion, and justice, and we are working to accomplish just that. We still live in a country where sixty years ago a person could be arrested for drinking from the wrong water fountain, and today their grandchild could be arrested, or worse, for driving with a broken taillight. Friends, there is so much work left to be done. We must continue to work together in order to finish the work that Dr. King started, and that people in power have resisted since well before his work began.
No matter the challenges that each day presents, we can overcome them to build an America as great as its promise, and finally attain the true measure of justice that is the birthright of every human being.