Shutdown Continues as Nation Celebrates King Holiday

As the nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his son, Martin Luther King III said that the 33rd national holiday should be a day to address the “critical challenges that must be met to fulfill his dream.”

“In that spirit, we call on everyone who believes in my father's legacy to embrace his philosophy and methods of nonviolence and to work for social and economic reforms that can advance justice, equality and peace,” King said in a statement.

King was at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday where his father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., preached his last Sunday sermon, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” on March 31, just a few days before he was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in 1968.

King said he, his wife Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda Renee King, “stand in solidarity with millions of followers of my father, Martin Luther King Jr., in observing the 33rd King holiday and empowering the nonviolent movement to fulfill his great dream for humanity.”

On Monday, the King family will participate in the National Action Network’s Annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast. They also plan to lay a wreath at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall and participate in a community service project on the holiday to honor it as a day of service.

During the 28th annual Martin Luther King Memorial Breakfast at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., the Rev. L.K. Floyd brought up the government shutdown, in which 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed since Dec. 22. Some have been called back to work without pay.

“[President] Donald Trump is playing politics with people’s lives,” said Floyd, president of the Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Washington D.C. & Vicinity.

“Dr. King said a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Floyd said. “He is using health care and taking away people’s basic needs as well as shutting down the government. He doesn’t care about the average person’s basic needs but only his narcissistic agenda.”

Martin Luther King III described the shutdown as “unjust” and urged those who supported his father to get involved in movements “to eradicate poverty, racism and violence.”

“We ask concerned Americans of all races to speak out against bigotry in all its forms and to support a living wage for all working people. And we appeal to all concerned Americans to strive for gun safety measures that can prevent mass murder as well as daily violence and protect America's children,” King said in the statement. "These and other reforms, including a just immigration policy, decent housing for America's homeless, affordable college education opportunities for all, restoration of the voting rights act and automatic voter registration are urgently needed to help create the Beloved Community of my father's dream. With this commitment, the 2019 MLK holiday can truly serve the great causes that defined his life and work."

— Hamil R. Harris

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