Martin Luther King Day is when America holds up a mirror to itself, President Barack Obama said in a video address.
Biden stated, "It's high time that every elected official in America makes it clear where their stand is." It's time for all Americans to speak up. Be heard, speak out. "Where do you stand?"
Major holiday events include marches in many cities and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock serves as the senior pastor. In the past, politicians packed pews, but due to the pandemic many gave prerecorded speeches.
Monday would have marked the 93rd anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was only 39 years old when he was assassinated while helping sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, strike for better wages and safer workplaces.
King's oldest son, Biden, criticized Congress and Congress in general Monday for failing pass voting rights legislation. This despite the fact that 19 Republican-led states have made voting harder due to Trump's false claims of election-rigging.
Martin Luther King III stated, "You were successful in infrastructure, which was a great thing. But we need you use that same energy for ensuring that all Americans have equal unencumbered rights to vote."
Senate Republicans are united in their opposition to the Democrats’ voting bills. Biden called their stonewalling part of a "true attack on democracy", referring to it as "a true assault on our democracy" starting with the Jan. 6 insurrection and ending with the onslaught by Republican anti-voting legislation in dozens of states.
It's not about who gets the vote. It's all about who counts the votes. It's about whether your vote is counted at all. It's about two things insidious: voter suppression, and election subversion," Biden stated.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is the Senate's Black Republican. He responded with a series King Day-themed videos that he claimed would highlight positive developments in civil rights. Scott brushed aside criticisms of GOP actions and accused Democrats for labeling his party members racists.
Scott stated to The Associated Press, "It's insulting and infuriating to compare or conflate people opposing his positions as racists and traitors of the country. It's also wrong."
Warnock, who is running for reelection in Georgia as the first Black senator in Georgia, stated that everyone loves Dr. King but doesn't always love the things he represents.
Warnock stated, "Let's spread the word. You can't remember Dr. King while also destroying his legacy." "If you are going to speak his name, you must stand up for voting rights. You have to advocate for the poor, the oppressed, and the disenfranchised."
King, who gave his "I Have a Dream", speech during the 1963 March on Washington, and was awarded in 1964 the Nobel Peace Prize, believed that racial equality is inseparable with alleviating poverty and ending war. His belief in nonviolent protest has influenced activists working for civil rights, social change, and other causes.
In a Monday speech, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the U.S. economy has "never worked fairly for Black Americans" and for all Americans of color. This was one of many speeches delivered by national leaders to acknowledge unmet needs for racial equality in light of Martin Luther King Day.
Yellen referred back to King's famous speech when she recorded remarks for delivery at Rev. Al Sharpton attended the National Action Network breakfast in Washington. He used the financial metaphor when describing the founding fathers promises of equality.
King stated on the steps to the Lincoln Memorial, "America has defaulted upon this promissory notes insofar her citizens are concerned." He described it as "a bad check" and said that the check returned with insufficient funds. We refuse to believe that the bank of justice has gone bankrupt!
It is persuasive rhetoric, but Dr. King understood it to be more than a metaphor. He understood that economic injustice was tied to the larger injustice he fought for. "Our economy has not worked fair for Black Americans - nor for any other American of color - from Reconstruction to Jim Crow to the present," Yellen stated.
She stated that the Biden administration has worked to ensure that all economic institutions work for people of colour. The American Rescue Plan was designed to provide equity for communities of color. Treasury will inject $9 billion into Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions that are traditionally underserved by the financial system.
She stated that there is more work Treasury must do to reduce the racial inequality of wealth.
Atlanta's planned events included a march and rally, as well as a voter registration drive organized by the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda (Yet Service America) and Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda.