The Caribbean community and elected officials on Monday joined the nation in celebrating the birthday of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Today we remember the dream and the promise of our great country for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all,” said newly-elected Haitian American Assemblywoman Rodneye Bichotte.
“We continue to pray and fight for social and economic justice,” added the representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. That district encompasses Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood.
Noting that Dr. King once said “our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls, as well as a quantitative change in our lives,” Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said that New York City addresses “difficult social issues affecting communities of more color, those words spoken half a century ago couldn’t be more applicable to our lives today.
“Dr. King’s agitation and resistance against systemic injustice helped point America in the direction of peace, healing and unity,” said the son of Grenadian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
To celebrate King’s life and legacy, Williams, the Council’s Deputy Leader, urged community members to “see the powerful film ‘Selma,’ which reminds us that we must all strive to advance his work on civil rights for those in our own communities and beyond.
“Let us not use this day to sanitize Dr. King’s message, but, instead, use it to remember that we cannot be afraid to stand up and stand out for what’s right,” Williams said. “Only then will we reach the mountaintop that he envisioned for all of us.”
In celebrating Rev. King’s holiday, the Brooklyn-based Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) referred to quotes from some of King’s famous speeches:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
“A great revolution is taking place in our word, a social revolution in the minds and souls of men. And it has been transformed into a unified voice, crying out, ‘We want to be free’” – 1960.
“There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant” – 1964.