(Washington Times) — Drawing parallels between civil rights legend Martin Luther King Jr. and his own leadership challenges, President Obama on Sunday dedicated a memorial to King on the National Mall by saying King would have sympathized with activists demanding social justice from Wall Street.
“At this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings,” Mr. Obama said, who praised King’s belief in the “creative tension of nonviolent protests.”
“If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there,” the president said. “Those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as divisive. They’ll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing. Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all.”
Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama joined Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; his wife, Jill; and numerous civil rights figures for the dedication on the sun-splashed Mall. The ceremony had been postponed from late August because of Hurricane Irene.
Noting that King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Mall took place nearly 50 years ago, the president said America has made great strides since then in gaining economic and civil justice for all citizens.