Statement from Michael Blake on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 17, 2017

While observing the birthday and life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I reflect on the day I rode on the bus with members of the King family heading to President Obama's 2009 Inauguration Address where they turned and said “Thank You” to the staff riding along. We were all so emotional and replied to them "No, thank YOU.” It was a full circle moment as President Obama accepted the Democratic nomination 45 years to the day of the "I Have A Dream" speech. This week, I think of the need for us to continue to make progress, especially after President Obama has left the office, as the struggle for Justice continues. 


Over the weekend, we witnessed The President-elect attack Civil rights icon and Freedom Rider, Congressman John Lewis, a man who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. We cannot move forward and unify as a country if this type of disrespect continues. This response is demanding respect and decency for our fellow human beings. Today I was blessed with the opportunity to speak on Dr. King’s legacy at the NAN Learning Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and also lead the 4th annual MLK day of service at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church in the Bronx where I invoked the words of Dr. King Jr., "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the SILENCE of our friends.”  This moment is one where we cannot be silent in the face of divisive words and harmful actions.


We must be Doers of the Word to make comprehensive ‘Raise The Age’ legislation a priority so that 16- and 17- year-olds in New York and North Carolina are no longer tried in criminal court as adults for any offense to continue #ChangingTheNarrative for Boys and Young Men of Color while providing economic, social, housing and environmental justice.  


We need to be as vocal for our Native American brothers and sisters when water hoses are turned on them as they were against our Black and Brown brothers and sisters in the South during the '50s and '60s. We need to be Doers of the Word who stand up for Immigration reform with the same passion that we do for health care reform. Now is the latest chapter to stand up for justice, equity and fairness.


Today, in reflection of Dr. King's life, I ask that you stand with me to organize against injustice and help us continue to move this nation so that the "arc" continues to bend towards justice. 




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