It would be all too easy to let the violent attacks and dangerous threats against our democracy dominate all of our thoughts. On this Martin Luther King Day, however, I would urge us to pause for a moment to reflect on the continuing resonance of Dr. King's sacrifice and service to our nation. We should remember that his lasting example continues to inspire countless Americans to this day.
Last year, we lost one of Dr. King's contemporaries in the Civil Rights Movement, a lifelong champion of our democracy, and my former colleague, Congressman John Lewis. When he was a young student, Lewis was inspired by Dr. King's call to put everything on the line--including his own life--to advance equality and opportunity for all Americans. He kept getting into what he called ‘Good Trouble' to advance our country until his final days.
Following Martin Luther King and John Lewis's example, over the last year, a new generation of Americans chanted loudly in the streets and then marched to the polls to demand that our elected leaders finally confront our nation's deep-seated and systemic injustices. Black Lives Matter demonstrators focused our attention on the insidious ways that racist discrimination contributes not only to deadly encounters with law enforcement but also to heartbreaking and unacceptable disparities in health, education, and economic outcomes.
There is incredible sorrow, hurt, and righteous anger in our country today. So much work remains to bring about all of the changes that we seek. But the seemingly impossible is actually possible when we engage in our democracy. This idea might best be embodied in the fact that I will soon be joined in the United States Senate by Senator-elect Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Dr. King's Ebenezer Baptist Church.
In his life, Dr. King demonstrated how to actively participate in the bending of the moral arc of the universe toward justice. We all have a role to play in the months and years ahead to heal our country and rebuild our communities in ways that move us closer to Dr. King's dream.
United States Senator