Statement of Rep. Jan Schakowsky on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Evanston, Illinois (January 20, 2014) Today we celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his message of inclusion, opportunity and justice. Dr. King taught us all that discrimination and intolerance harm not just the individuals who are their targets, but all of us. He recognized that social and economic justice go hand in hand, and he motivated us all to join the fight for civil rights, voting rights and workers’ rights.
It was in Chicago in 1966 that Dr. King called for action to end discrimination in health care, saying that, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” His words have inspired us to pass Medicare, Medicaid and the new health law, Obamacare. We have met his call for health care justice by expanding access to health care and by helping to end discrimination based on health status, gender, race and income.
Today is not just a day when we recognize the enormous contributions of an American hero, but a day when we commit ourselves to act so that we can create the America that he dreamt was possible. Dr. King told us that, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We can best honor him by continuing his fight for equality and opportunity for all.