Sen. Kamala Harris speaks in the Senate chambers. Courtesy C-SPAN

To California Sen. Kamala Harris, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is “a day to recognize what it’s taken for us to arrive at this point as well as acknowledge much more work we have to do.”

“This is about celebrating a man who had the vision to understand that the fight for civil rights is aligned with the fight for economic rights,” Harris told City News Service in connection with her selection as grand marshal of Monday’s 33rd annual Kingdom Day Parade in South Los Angeles.

“So let’s remember the history we have of having movements that were about fighting for equality among all people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, but also remembering that if we are going to truly achieve equality, it is also about economic equality and economic justice, which means making sure everyone has access to a good job, with fair wages and safe working conditions.”

When asked what is the best way or ways for the public to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Harris, D-California, said she recently has been “reading some of Dr. King’s speeches for inspiration and as a way to remind myself that we are a great country.

“Part of what makes us great as a country is that we always fight for the best of who we are, and I think this is one of those moments in time that is requiring us to remember that we are great and to remember that what makes us great is we fight for the ideals of our country,” Harris said.

Then-President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law in 1983 making the third Monday in January a federal holiday to honor the birthday of the slain civil rights leader, who was born on Jan. 15, 1929.

In his proclamation designating Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President Donald Trump declared, “Dr. King advocated for the world we still demand — where the sacred rights of all Americans are protected, rural and urban communities are prosperous from coast to coast, and our limits and our opportunities are defined not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

“We remember the immense promise of liberty that lies at the foundation of our great republic, the responsibility it demands from all of us who claim its benefits and the many sacrifices of those who have come before us.

“The reverend’s devotion to fighting the injustice of segregation and discrimination ignited the American spirit of fraternity and reminded us of our higher purpose.

“Through his words and work, he compelled us to hold ourselves to standards of moral character and integrity that are worthy of our nation and of our humanity.”

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.