January 12, 2017

Cortez Masto Statement Recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Obama’s Announcement of New Civil Rights National Monuments

Las Vegas, NV – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) released the following statement recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President Barack Obama’s announcement of new national monuments in honor of the civil rights movement: 

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the life and legacy of one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history. Under Dr. King’s leadership and inspiration, our nation moved forward with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made every American equal under the law, regardless of skin color. Because of the movement led by Dr. King, we moved forward towards a more inclusive future. While we have made significant progress in ensuring that all Americas are treated equally, our work is far from over. Too many people and communities still face barriers in everyday life just because of race, age, gender, religion, background, or sexual orientation. It is our responsibility to build on Dr. King’s legacy and work diligently towards protecting the rights of every American. In the U.S. Senate, I am committed to providing a voice to the voiceless and ensuring that people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, women, and the economically disadvantaged receive the same rights and privileges as every other American.”

Dr. King’s legacy was further solidified this week by President Obama’s designation of three new national monuments that honor the work of Dr. King and those who were instrumental in launching the civil rights movement.

The Freedom Riders National Monument honors the courageous Freedom Riders who in 1961 rode on a Greyhound bus through Georgia and Alabama to advocate for civil rights. During their stop in Anniston, Alabama, a mob attacked them and burned their bus, which strengthened their cause and became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement. The Birmingham Marches for Civil Rights National Park reminds us of the countless civil rights marches and demonstrations that occurred in Birmingham, Alabama, many in which Dr. King partook. The final monument preserves Penn Center, one of the first schools for freed slaved in the country and a place where Dr. King frequented as he planned the March on Washington. As National Monuments, these historic places will preserved so that generations to come learn from our past to build a better, more inclusive tomorrow.