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Hawai‘i lawmakers reflect on legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Stone of Hope Monument, Maui. PC: Wendy Osher (1.17.22)

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day honoring the civil rights leader, who fought against inequality, seeking justice for all. 

A County of Maui Facebook post in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day offered thoughts from Mayor Michael Victorino: “I often wonder what Dr. King would say about what’s happening in the United States in 2022. Hawaiʻi isn’t perfect, but most of us try to be an example of inclusion and mutual respect for all. My wish for the people of Maui County this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is to honor the legacy of Dr. King by living aloha.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono reflected upon his work saying, “on a day when we should be coming together to commemorate these civil rights achievements and recommit to the road ahead, we are instead fighting a battle we thought was won decades ago.”

In 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “Give Us the Ballot” address where he said, “The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.”

“But here we are, in 2022, fighting back against hundreds of bills introduced in states with the clear intention of making it harder for certain people to vote,” said Sen. Hirono.

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“Our country’s legacy of racial discrimination in voting is undeniable.  And it’s undeniable that we are witnessing history repeat itself today. If we want to honor Dr. King’s legacy, we must put politics aside and pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”

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The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority joined in the commemoration of Dr. King’s life and his legacy of pursuing justice, diversity, equality and harmony.

The HTA reflected upon one of Dr. Kingʻs quotes: “As I looked at all of these various faces and various colors mingled together like the waters of the sea, I could see only one face–the face of the future.” 

He reportedly made the remarks in 1959, upon returning to the west coast and recalling his observations during a speech he had just delivered at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

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