Introduced By: Senators Kelly, Enos, Blais, Cicilline J and Walton
Date Introduced : January 14, 1999
WHEREAS, On January 15, 1929, a child was born in Atlanta, Georgia who would one day lead a nonviolent revolution to forever change the social and political landscape of America. The mirror he held before the national conscience revealed the ugliness of racism and hatred that has divided America from the day it was born. Neither the carnage of Civil War, nor even the thorough self-examination that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. forced upon the nation, has entirely eradicated the injustices which still plague us. Where, however, would the social conscience of America be today were it not for the courage and teachings of this great man; and
WHEREAS, There can be no doubt that Dr. King burned with the fire of revolution, but were others called for blood and violence to purify the nation, he preached nonviolence and an iron will that knew that the justness of his cause would one day unite America. In his famed "I Have a Dream" speech before the Lincoln Memorial, he challenged the country to live up to its ideals. "We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug or gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all God's children."; and
WHEREAS, For Dr. King violence was a firestorm which must eventually consume the arsonist. The victim of violence throughout his public career, he never gave in to the darkness cloaking this great evil. "I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life which surrounds him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men."; and
WHEREAS, To Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the American dream must one day apply to all nations if this world is ever to live in peace and prosperity. "The American dream will not become a reality devoid of the larger dream of a world of brotherhood and peace and goodwill. The world in which we live is a world of geographical oneness and we are challenged now to make it spiritually one. In a real sense, we must learn to live together as brothers, or we shall all perish together as fools. We must come to see that no individual can live alone; no nation can live alone. We must all live together; we must all be concerned about each other."; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby commemorates the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. We honor not only the man and all that he accomplished, but we honor, as well, the ongoing process of social enlightenment he founded which lives with us still, ever pressing us to move beyond what we are and what we think we can be. The prophet of HOPE, Dr. King has left a legacy which will live forever.