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Congresswoman Barbara Lee Remembers Martin Luther King

Today is a holiday here in the United States honoring the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In an interview with Voice of America reporter James Butty, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee remembers Dr. King as a person who changed the course of history -- not only for African Americans, but for all Americans and for the entire world. “Dr. King not only stood for justice and equality; he also stood for peace. He was against the Vietnam War; he worked hard against the Vietnam War. He knew that that war was wrong, and I think we need today to look at the lessons and remember Dr. King’s life and legacy -- and every day, not just on his birthday. There are many who lift him up on his birthday but then do just the opposite each and every day in their lives.”

On what she thinks Dr. King would say today about race relations in the United States, Congresswoman Lee says Dr. King was against the system of government that allows so many people to live in poverty. “We have over 37 million people now living in poverty, and when you look at Katrina, I was down there this weekend. The devastation that the hurricane wreaked upon African Americans -- seventy percent of those who were displaced were black. The majority were poor. So I suspect that Dr. King would be very disappointed and would say that we would have to work more vigorously to change laws, to reorder our budget priorities so that resources can be placed into education and to creating livable communities and into universal health care. And I would suggest that he would say that until we did that and stop funding this huge military budget, the people in America would continue be divided based on class and race.”