44th Anniversary Of MLK's Death Brings Injustices To Light
Several speakers, all of whom advocated for justice, shared their takes on Dr. King's legacy, as well as their opinions on today's society during an original baptist church service.
Jonathan Klein, the executive director at Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA), introduced Dr. King as a one-of-a-kind leader.
"There's no other American leader in American history, that I can think of, who has more poetically and actively tied disparate values of justice together than Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "The beauty of Dr. King's legacy is that he taught us all that we can be messengers of truth, messengers of justice, and healers of a broken society."
Dr. King's legacy, some attendees said, demands that all people be united so that all can live in a world that everyone wants and deserves to live in. Dr. Marvis Davis, the president of Baptist Ministers Conference in Los Angeles, reinforced this call to action.
"We must preach against racial injustice and prejudice," he said. "We must proclaim civil rights. We must proclaim freedom movements. We must preach liberty."
According to many of the speakers, the slaying of Trayvon Martin is a prime example of an unjustness today that prevents society from moving towards Dr. King's vision of a better world.
Bill Lucy, the founder of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, said the law that supposedly protected Martin's shooter from arrest is merely an excuse to preserve someone's pride.
"Stand Your Ground gives the exclusive right to use deadly force if they think they have been taken advantage of," he said. "This is no more than an effort to patronize the patriots by giving them the right to buy guns and use guns out of fear that their life has changed."
Lucy continued to declare Martin's death as the result of an unjust society still tainted by the rulings of racial prejudice and classism.
"Trayvon Martin was killed by a system that devalued his right and dehumanized his being," he said. "If Dr. King were here, he would be fighting back against such a system self-perpetuated lust lives side by side by self-perpetuated poverty."
Dr. Maulana Karenga, Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at California State University at Long Beach, urged that the Trayvon Martin case is not to be ignored.
"We have the right and responsibility to resist evil and injustice," he said. "We must not be silent in the face of the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin or other black boys and men who are falsely arrested, falsely convicted, falsely imprisoned and even sentenced to death in the street."
Assembly Member Holly Mitchell of the 47th District suggested that even though Martin's case has gotten a lot of attention from the general public, their reactions now cannot replace what has been already done.
"I would argue to you that we have a lot of work to do in Dr. King's honor," she said. "The tragedy of Trayvon Martin is unacceptable."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message is still relevant today. He saw what needed to be accomplished and never stopped attempting to achieve it. His encouragement for movements applies to today's problems.
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle," he said. "We must straighten our backs and for work our freedom. A man can't ride you unless you back is bent."
The call to action is clear. Minister Tony Muhammad gave words of motivation to the audience that prompted them to create a community where one supports the other during these times of distress.
"We have an awesome responsibility to continue the legacy of Dr. King," he said. "We're going to have to unite now as a people."
Reach Staff Reporter Letticia Lee here.