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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Lawyers' Committee Recognizes the Lessons and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

WASHINGTON -

Monday, January 17, commemorates the life and legacy of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Day recognizes Dr. King’s legacy of service and activism while also serving as an inspiration for us all to contribute to our communities and country positively.

The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“As we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us remember all that he stood for and all that he fought against. The sanitized, watered-down recollection of Dr. King, popular among many, is wholly divorced from the reality of his life. He was a freedom fighter who knew struggle, a visionary who pushed forward against seemingly impossible odds, and a truth-teller who challenged entrenched power. Yes, his was a life of service. But his service was about activism—an engaged leadership that brought our country closer to its stated ideals.

“Dr. King’s activism taught us that those who care about freedom must take action to shake loose equality from whatever stands in the way, including cynicism and complacency with the status quo. In that spirit, and on this day of remembrance, we will redouble our efforts to defend voting rights and save our democracy.

“Although lawmakers are at an impasse on critical voting rights legislation, we will not allow them to be satisfied with the status quo or comfortable in hiding behind arcane procedural rules or traditions that hurt the cause of justice. We will not stop agitating, mobilizing, and fighting for our rights and we call on all people of conscience to join us in this fight. Today of all days, let us together embrace the spirit of activism.”

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The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.

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