Martin Luther King Jr Day renews push to tackle racial injustice in US
The United States is marking Martin Luther King Jr‘s Day, with advocates urging the country to commemorate the assassinated civil rights leader’s legacy by truly tackling racial injustice in the US.
Monday’s federal holiday comes nearly 55 years after the April 1968 killing of King, who led a non-violent movement pushing for equality for Black Americans throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
The US civil rights movement, buoyed by King and other leaders, led to the end of blatantly discriminatory Jim Crow laws in the country’s south, while spurring several landmark pieces of legislation.
These included the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ended segregation and banned workplace discrimination, as well as 1965’s Voting Rights Act, which sought to end discrimination at the polls.
Reverend William Barber, a prominent social justice activist who gave the sermon at the 2021 inauguration of President Joe Biden, said Monday’s holiday should not be marked solely by commemorations, however.
“We don’t need museums, but movements,” Barber tweeted. “Not commemorations, but consecrations to dedicate our lives to the unfinished business of MLK & so many others who loved justice.”
This year’s Martin Luther King Jr Day comes amid growing concerns in the US over white nationalist rhetoric and violence targeting Black people.
A flurry of US state laws restricting access to voting also has prompted calls for action in recent months, with advocates saying the measures most adversely affect racial minorities.