In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra released the following statement:

“Today, we celebrate and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a remarkable revolutionary who ignited a movement and peacefully stared down violent white supremacists who sought to keep Black Americans as second class citizens.

“While we often rightly remember and celebrate Dr. King as a civil rights hero, we too often forget that he preached that racial equality couldn’t be achieved without economic equality. And all we have to do is look around at the realities here in our state –– where Maine people of color are more likely to earn lower wages and experience poverty than white Mainers –– to understand that we haven’t reached racial or economic equality.

“Near the end of his life, Dr. King wrote that ‘the value in pulling racism out of its obscurity and stripping it of its rationalization lies in the confidence it can be changed.’ In a year marked by millions of Americans taking to the streets to raise their voices against racist violence against people of color, Dr. King’s words couldn’t be more relevant.

“Dr. King showed that racism is a tool used to divide us, but by exposing and confronting it in our policies, our actions, our indifference, our words –– we have confidence it can be changed. African American Mainers have been fighting against racism and for racial and economic justice for generations, but we all have a responsibility to join together. Because it’s clear that nearly 53 years after Dr. King’s murder, we have a long way to go to achieve his dream of full equality.”