News: Press Releases

(DETROIT) – Today marks the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement observing the anniversary:

“Dr. King was a beloved humanitarian, and a tireless advocate for justice, jobs, and peace. Four years before Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, I was privileged to meet him and to receive his endorsement for my 1964 Congressional campaign. I was inspired by his courage to call forth promises of the Constitution while simultaneously using non-violent protests as choice weapons to face the injustices that were ever-present in the country at that time.

“Unfortunately, the tensions gripping America during the turbulent times leading up to and immediately after the assassination of Dr. King are not so different from the concerns that our Nation’s leaders face today. The assassination of Dr. King left an indelible mark on America’s collective consciousness, yet many who believed in his vision for our great country renewed a commitment to live out the life and work of Dr. King to help America get beyond those dark days.

“In the days before and immediately after April 4, 1968, America was gripped by tensions over civil rights and equality, voting rights, unemployment and underemployment, discrimination in housing and lending, immigration, access to public education for children, and a growing disparity in income and access to health care. Today, Americans are confronted with similar uncertainties including rising health care costs, rampant home foreclosures, and concern over our students’ future. These worries are compounded by fears about the flood of unlimited and unregulated money into our electoral process which has diminished the confidence of eligible voters in the power of their voice in our democracy. Today and in years to come, Americans must make another renewed commitment to Dr. King’s vision of jobs, justice, and peace and apply this vision to the perils that plague our democracy in the 21st Century.

“Dr. King’s message resonated with my own commitments to furthering equality in the face of injustice and racial discrimination, as well as to strengthen our democracy. Following King’s assassination, I began to rally the country to establish a federal holiday in recognition of Dr. King’s incomparable commitment to fight for the promises of equality. With the leadership of Dr. King’s beloved wife, and the assistance of many others also inspired by Dr. King’s life and work, the federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor was enacted. My life’s work in this Congress is because of the sacrifice and courage displayed by Dr. King, and I am forever indebted to him.

“Every American is a beneficiary of the great work and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From our current President of the United States, Barack Obama, to individuals of all races and creeds across America, our successes are directly related to his life’s work and mission to end discrimination and inequality. To cherish Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memory, life, and work means to continue working alongside each other, and to clear a pathway for justice and peace, to march towards the promised land that Dr. King so eloquently described on the night before his death. The work of Martin Luther King, Jr. is not yet complete, therefore, our work is not done.”