Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator Blanche Lincoln today held a conference call with African American religious leaders from across the nation to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, talk about the progress our nation has made towards achieving that vision and how the Republican culture of corruption threatens that progress. Participating ministers included Rev. Charles Southall, from the First Emanuel Baptist Church in New Orleans, Father Michael Jacques, Pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Church, in New Orleans, Rev. Tim McDonald III, Chairman of African American Ministers in Actions and Pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church, in Atlanta, GA.
“Dr. King left us in 1968, but his dream has endured. Over the years, we have made great progress towards achieving his vision of equality for all. The work of congregations and leaders like you has been fundamental to accomplish this end,” said Reid. “However, what troubles me today is that our progress seems to have stalled by the failure of government officials to put the American people’s priorities before politics. America can do better. Working together, we can defeat this culture of corruption that neglects the moral issues that Dr. King fought for.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. taught us all that we could make our lives better and our nation stronger if we stand together,” said Sen. Landrieu. “Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee breaks showed the American people how much work is left to do. But working together, we can do better and make Dr. King’s dream a reality.”
“Our faith and love for humanity compels us to help each other,” said Father Jacques. “We thank Senators Reid, Landrieu and Lincoln for providing an opportunity for religious leaders in the Gulf region and those proving assistance throughout the nation to ask questions and receive a first hand account of the status of relief efforts in Congress.”
“Leaders of faith across this nation understand the tremendous burden all Americans carry to help repair the lives of Gulf Coast residents,” said Rev. McDonald. “I am pleased that, on such a significant day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Senator Reid and his Senate colleagues took the time to reaffirm their commitment to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.”
“We can have a budget that takes care of the most vulnerable among us. We can have a health care system that is affordable and accessible to all Americans. We can achieve an America that embodies Dr. King’s dream. All it takes is a commitment to work together and to put progress, not politics, first,” said Reid.