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MLK Reflections by Key Community Leaders

by admin on 21st-January-2016

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“I have always admired the work of Dr. King because of the way he went about his efforts to effect change. Dr. King created a peaceful, multiracial coalition and used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests and grassroots organizing to achieve his goals. Those are leadership traits we can all learn from not the screaming, yelling and sometimes criminal rioting that some of today’s activists espouse.”

– George Price, City Councilman, Moreno Valley


“I have no doubt that many of the great opportunities that I have had are a direct result of Dr. Martin Luther King’s courage, vision, and sacrifice. From things as simple as having lunch with my mother at the Newberry lunch counter to things as great as watching my friend, Justice Carol Codrington, be appointed to the California Court of Appeal. His impact cannot be overstated.”

– Judge R. Fields, Riverside County Superior Court


“Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a world leader who taught us what it means to love. Present-day martyrs bring terror with the distraction of their deaths claiming a given cause; but, Dr. King showed us that a real hero is the one who loves others and overcomes evil with good. Some may cite great moments in his life or a given accolade, of which he had many, but what I admire most is the love for people that led Dr. King to persevere trial and persecution as he stood for justice. His life convicts me to unapologetically stand for what is right and express love rather than hate. As we face the same civil rights issues of police brutality, injustice in the judicial system and inequity in education, Reverend King’s message of peace and social justice gives us the ardor of hope that progress can be made when we stand together. The life and work of Dr. King truly breathes hope in me and helps me press forward in the struggle as I advocate for the education of Black children and mental health and wellness of the Black community.”

– Dr. April Clay, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist /Education Advocate / Public Speaker


“Dr. King challenged America to live up to the ideals that first brought our nation together. He embodied what was right about America, working tirelessly in the fight for civil rights and equality. His extraordinary level of personal sacrifice and unwavering courage in the face of adversity continues to impact me and many Californians. As we marvel at his life’s work, it serves as an important reminder for us to recommit ourselves to the message behind his teachings of civility, justice and peace. Please join me today in honoring the life of Dr. King.”

– George Runner, Vice Chair, California Board of Equalization


“My parents grew up in Mississippi but my father was able to successfully graduate from college and medical school before returning his young family to the south. Mississippi in the ‘50s was a violent place and so we ultimately moved out west to California. I share this with you only to give some perspective to how the great personal effort that men like my father—on a personal level and Dr. King—on a global level, laid a foundation for future generations to have opportunities that previously may not been available to African Americans. Today, as a County Supervisor, I look back on my life and my accomplishments and realize that without men like Dr. King, many doors would not have opened for me. But, while Dr. King’s message was to not judge a person by the color of their skin, his larger message was to give all oppressed people an equal opportunity. As a public servant, he is an inspiration to me to answer the question, ‘What are you doing for others?’.”

– Chuck Washington, Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor


“Rev. Martin Luther King impacted my life tremendously especially when I think about having patience with people. I think the non violent movement at that time was brave, especially for America because we have been a ‘take what you want kind of country’. When I was younger I got angry and resented the fact that King was the only leader we spoke of–he wasn’t alone in the civil rights movement, he had a whole team involved; however, in college I fell in love with him and his writings all over again. He impacted me in a sense that I can’t take for granted my voice and I can’t take for granted my written word. Before, I thought he was over-glorified, but studying his writings in college helped me find who I am. It helped me build capacity and resiliency in myself and others. Even as I do my research, I know political, educational and social engagement all has to do with voice. If you want to engage people you have to hear them and you also have to see what they don’t say and do. Everything I do is about promoting one’s voice and it is because of him that I do. I pay tribute e to him for that.”

– Dr. Ayanna Balogun, Author and Educator


“Last year, while reflecting on the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march, my father empathetically shared how never in his wildest dreams he thought he would gain the right to not only vote, but would ever see the day where his only child, an African American woman, would serve in public office. It is very clear to me how important Dr. King’s work has not only been for the betterment of my life, but the betterment of all lives. Although we have made some strides, we must remember that our work is not done. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King: “There comes a time that one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right”, is so fitting when considering the recent events in our world. We have to take the unpopular stance to speak out and say that it isn’t right that the Oscars fail to recognize artists of color. We must be willing to say it isn’t right that our local, county, state and federal government doesn’t have nearly enough representation of women. We must continuously say that it isn’t right that we loss the lives of Tamir Rice, Cedrick Chatman, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Trevon Martin, and Isaac Kelly. Though it might not be seen as politically accurate, we must unapologetically take a position that Black Lives Do Matter!”

– Tonya Burke, City Councilmember, Perris


“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of faith who inspired us and continues to inspire us to fight for civil rights, to fight poverty, to fight injustice, and to strive for peace through peaceful means . . . As we remember the life of a great man like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we can use his guidance to help us heal and recover from the tragic events of Dec. 2nd. He once said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” This still rings true today. Fight hate with love and strive for peace. We should always strive for peace. We will never forget those we lost that day, like we will never forget Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who devoted his life through faith to fight for what he believed was right.”

-James Ramos, Chairman, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors


“Dr. King was an exceptional leader that has truly inspired my life. His message of peace, love, nonviolence, and racial harmony has influenced my decision making as a leader, and has contributed to my ability to work cooperatively with others despite our differences in race, religion, and culture.”

– Cheryl Brown, State Assemblymember, 47th District

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