WASHINGTON, D.C. – This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, NOW reaffirms our commitment to continue fighting for racial justice and the lives and rights of Black people across the nation. In the last year, we have seen the impacts of structural racism dominate the news cycle again and again. From the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color, to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black lives, to rampant voter suppression and violent racist backlash to the results of the presidential election – it has been a year of difficulty, tragedy, and pain.
But we have also seen a powerful response to these issues. We have seen the acts of service that Dr. King called for, with neighbors helping neighbors through mutual aid funds, grocery deliveries, and more. Our health care workers have bravely stepped up to treat millions of people suffering from coronavirus. Teachers, retail workers, postal workers, and other essential workers on the frontlines have pushed through to keep our country going.
Last summer, we saw one of the largest movements in history rise up in response to the epidemic of discriminatory police violence in the United States. Millions of Americans marched the streets, as Dr. King did so many times, in an act of peaceful protest to honor the lives of those lost, to demand justice in their names, and to make it clear: Black lives matter. And just as Dr. King was, they were met with brutality from the police, yet marched on, just as Dr. King did.
That energy for justice and equality carried over into the 2020 elections, in which grassroots organizers across the country turned out voters at historic rates and elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – the country’s first female, Black, and Asian vice president. In Dr. King’s own home state of Georgia, Black women, both organizers, and voters were essential in electing not only the Biden-Harris ticket but also two new senators, one of whom is currently the pastor at the church where Dr. King used to preach.
NOW is committed to being champions of justice and following in the footsteps of Dr. King. We will keep reminding the new administration and new Congress that they were elected to serve the people, not special interests. And we will honor Dr. King and his legacy as we push for ongoing systemic change, challenge structural racism and fight for racial justice.