DNC Statement on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Washington, DCMayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, issued the following statement today in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“Today we celebrate the living legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most transformational leaders in our nation’s ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union. His teachings of nonviolence, peace and love have compelled countless Americans to stand against oppressive powers in the fight for equality, bending the moral arc of our history toward a more just future.

“But Dr. King also believed participation in the political process was absolutely necessary to achieve lasting, meaningful change, and he fought tirelessly to tear down barriers to the ballot. Today, our nation is stronger for it. Because of the broad political participation that elected President Obama, we have made our nation a more inclusive and free place for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and genders; expanded quality, affordable health care to those who need it most; and acted decisively on climate change to leave our planet a better place for the generations who will follow us.

“Sadly, there are still those in American politics who would limit access to the ballot box for partisan, political reasons. In states across the country, new voter ID laws have passed, erecting fresh barriers to the franchise in recent years. Dr. King was clear when he said the denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition. As we celebrate his life, we would also do well to remember his work is not finished, and we are all responsible for keeping his legacy alive by fighting for justice and equality — not least of all when it comes to protecting and expanding the right to vote.”