Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie’s Statement Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. King:
“Today, we remember the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life was tragically ended fifty years ago while helping organize sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.
While memorialized for his dream, we must also pause to remember Dr. King’s unwavering commitment to racial equality, social justice, and economic inclusion.
We must remember his commitment to the ideals of opportunity and social advancement—that only when our normal routines are disrupted do we really begin to fully understand societal issues.
In his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize address, Dr. King stated, “there is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.” For the final four years of his life, Dr. King would serve as a tireless champion fighting for equity among the most impoverished. He asserted that “No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for the least of these.”
As we remember Dr. King on the fiftieth anniversary of his death, let us renew our commitment both to his dream and to the ideals of fairness and justice for which he gave his life. Let us remember the words he spoke on the importance on improving the quality of life, especially for the least of these – that we must “rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Today, I challenge every resident in the District of Columbia to reflect on the lasting legacy and sacrifice of Dr. King.”