For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Obama Inaugural and King's Legacy
WASHINGTON - The following commentators offer different perspectives on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the meaning of Obama's inauguration:
Rev. GRAYLAN S. HAGLER
Hagler is national president of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of The United Church of Christ. He said today: "In many respects what is happening early next week with King's birthday and Obama's inaugural are the culmination of historical struggles and it is good to celebrate those struggles which have brought us to this place."
Hagler is senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C., which will host a "Continuation of Hope and Real Change" event on Sunday, Jan. 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; the church is located at 5301 North Capitol Street NE.
One recent piece of his is: "Bankers and Military Hog Power Under Obama."
He has also written "Black Caucus Abandons King Legacy and Black Opinion, Votes For War on Gaza" and "Give the Candidates the MLK Test."
"A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. ...
"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores. ... A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind."
-- Martin Luther King Jr. from his "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence" address, delivered April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City, a year to the day before his assassination
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