April 02, 2008

STATEMENT OF SENATOR BENJAMIN L. CARDIN (D-MD)COMMEMORATING THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

I rise today to commemorate the 40 th Anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.   April 4, 2008 marks the 40 th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an iconic leader of the American civil rights movement.   In death, the legacy of Dr. King continues and so does his call for tolerance, justice and equality.

 

April 1968 was a tragic time for the King family and for our nation.   Our cities erupted as people were overcome by rage and horror at his assassination.   We all suffered in the knowledge that someone who had been an inspiration to millions had been taken from us by an assassin's bullet.

 

It has been 40 years since his murder, but his legacy remains with us as we continue to pursue his vision of equality, fairness, and justice.   Today, we are a nation of 300 million people; a nation in which one-out-of-three Americans is a member of a minority group.   His vision is just as important and inspirational today as it was 40 years ago.

 

We must never forget that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and one of our most important challenges.   We must find a way to work and live together and to respect each other. Dr. King's legacy of social justice charted the path for us.  As he once said: "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

 

We have not always succeeded in achieving that goal.   Dr. King's work remains unfinished as we witness a resurgence of hate crimes, and injustice and inequality still exist.  We must always remain vigilant against those who preach hate and intolerance and believe that it is acceptable to deny others the rights that are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.   

 

Dr. King stood up to violence, bigotry, and intolerance in our country to ensure that all of us can live free of prejudice and hatred.   Today, on the 40 th Anniversary of his death, it's important that we remember his sacrifice and pledge to continue his fight for greater opportunities for all.