Rabb resolution honors the 'radical' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today secured adoption of a resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in light of the recent national holiday.

"Everyone knows the stirring line 'I have a dream,' but we need to remember the complete Dr. King, who was considered a radical in his time, who fought against poverty as well as racial injustice, in part because those two things are linked," Rabb said.

Rabb's resolution (H.R. 39) includes passages such as:

  • "People in cities, suburbs and small towns across our diverse nation have joined in homage to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who organized and mobilized against and resisted the bigotry, structural inequality and kleptocratic features existing within American society;" and
  • "The prescient expressions of equality and solidarity in the Rev. Dr. King's career-defining speech during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also ring true in today's political and social context."

The resolution also quotes these lines from Dr. King's 1963 speech about the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness made in Philadelphia at the nation's founding: "America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds; and Whereas, The House of Representatives acknowledges the Rev. Dr. King's refusal 'to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation' that should bestow on all Americans 'the riches of freedom and the security of justice.'"

The resolution continues: "The House of Representatives affirms its reverence for the pursuit of social, racial, economic and environmental justice in keeping with the Rev. Dr. King's vision and moral courage;"

"Whereas, Lawmakers must enact, fund and ensure compliance with public policy that rises above the interests of those groups and individuals who are inclined to segregate, undermine and degrade what the Rev. Dr. King referred to as 'the beloved community'; and

"Whereas, Lawmakers empowered to enact, amend and repeal laws and pass state budgets must likewise generate moral documents for the benefit of this Commonwealth as enshrined in the foundational documents of William Penn and the Constitution of Pennsylvania…

"Resolved, That the House of Representatives, on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."