Letter: Dr. King’s legacy: Love, not hate; understanding, not anger; peace, not war


When the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968 while in Memphis to support the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) sanitation workers’ strike, he was organizing the Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice.

He believed that economic security, as well as racial equality, was a basic human right. “What good is the right to sit at a lunch counter,” Dr. King asked, “if one can’t afford the price of a meal?”

In many ways the Poor People’s Campaign is still with us. Today in Arizona more than two million Arizonans are considered working poor, living at or below the Federal Poverty Guideline. More than 40 percent of the households receiving emergency food assistance have at least one person who is working. Inequality has deepened.

Upward mobility has stalled. Too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — without getting ahead. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the ratio between average American CEO pay and worker pay is now 303-to-1.

What are we saying about the respect we have for work and working families when we coolly tolerate a system in which a person can work full-time in this affluent country and still be condemned to a life of poverty, including all the denial of opportunity that such indecent wages bring? It is not acceptable that we treat workers as little more than obstacles in the path to bigger profits. To commemorate the birth of Dr. King, I would suggest that the business community work with the labor community to make economic justice a reality for all people.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday is a day set aside for measuring ourselves against the yardstick of King’s hope and dream. It is a time to reflect on our moral obligation to condemn social and economic systems that rob people of dignity and equal opportunity. It is a time to remember the philosophy of nonviolent action for creating positive social change. To pay tribute to those still in the struggle against racism and injustice.

To renew our commitment to love, not hate; to show understanding, not anger; and to make peace, not war. The holiday invites us to act — to act in a way that reaches out to those who are among the most vulnerable and in a way that reminds our elected officials that investment in human capital pays great dividends.

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all other civil rights activists and advocates of human rights, for challenging our great nation to live up to the historic principles outlined in the Preamble of our Constitution in that all people regardless of race, color, or creed would be included in “We the People.”

James Kimes

Prescott Valley


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The_Uppity_Peasant 2 years, 1 month ago

There were and are many black men and women who fought for their rights, but just like in academia where the only ones we are allowed to celebrate are the ones who embraced non-violence; all the while these same promoters of non-violence (in academia) have no problem slandering someone to the point of suicide.

One professor was slandered to the point that he committed suicide by stabbing himself in the neck with scissors until he was dead. This doesn't sound like non-violence to me. I grew up in a poor and violent neighborhood, and yet academics are some of the most violent people I have ever met, they just go about their violence in a different more subtle way.

Maybe someday we will stop letting hypocrites tell us who to celebrate. As for me, I celebrate Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Medger Evers, because if I were a black man and a bunch of rednecks wearing white sheets were prancing around in my front yard, I sure as hell wouldn't be organizing a sit-down demonstration, I'd be blowing their pretty white heads off their racist bodies. And I'm a proud descendant of a Confederate veteran.


The_Uppity_Peasant 2 years, 1 month ago

Besides my anti-academia rant, Mr. Kimes letter is good and raises valid points.