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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Rep. Waters on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 2018
Press Release

Rep. Waters Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

LOS ANGELESCongresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on the 50th anniversary of the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee:

“On this day, 50 years ago, the world lost one of its most impassioned freedom fighters, prolific preachers of nonviolence, and audacious ‘drum majors for justice’: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With his powerful, dignified, and transformative leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, his soul-stirring sermons and speeches, and his prophetic ‘dream’ of a day when men and women would 'not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’ Dr. King dedicated his life to making our democracy one that was more equal and more just.

“Our nation will forever be indebted to Dr. King and other civil rights giants such as Rosa Parks, Rev. Jesse Jackson, former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and my colleague U.S. Congressman John Lewis, who fought, struggled, and sacrificed in order to end the demoralizing discrimination, unconscionable violence, and debilitating poverty facing Africans Americans. Though they were harassed, beaten, jailed, and lived under the constant threat of death, these courageous leaders remained steadfast in their mission to force America to live up to its most sacred ideals. Their fortitude and resilience led to the historic passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and also laid the foundation for the progress and unprecedented opportunities that we enjoy today.

“However, as we honor Dr. King’s life and legacy, we cannot help but be reminded of how much further we have to go before his ‘dream’ is fully realized. Voting rights are once again being undermined; many communities are still suffering from economic inequality; millions of Americans are being denied access to quality and affordable health care; public education is under attack; and unarmed men and women are being targeted and killed by law enforcement. Such injustices in our society are a reminder of our responsibility to continue Dr. King’s work of perfecting our union.

“50 years after Dr. King’s tragic assassination, let us reflect upon the famous letter from a Birmingham jail in which he wrote, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ and honor his rich legacy by recommitting ourselves to the ongoing struggle for peace, equality, and justice for all.”