WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrated today, Monday, January 15:

“As we mark the eighty-eighth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth, let us draw on his inspiring legacy to guide us through the challenges of our present day. Perhaps the greatest lesson we must heed is that justice cannot be achieved without toil. That nothing can be taken for granted on the long march of progress. Dr. King, in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, rejected the “strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.” In truth, he wrote, “…we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God…” On this day, when we remember Dr. King and his life of faith, struggle, and sacrifice for the causes of justice and equality, let us remember that we cannot simply wait for these goals to be met but must meet them with our resolve.

“I’m proud to serve in Congress alongside many who were, as I was, inspired to enter public service in large part because of Dr. King and his leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, including my colleagues who serve in the Congressional Black Caucus. The mission to which he called all of us continues, so we must continue to make it our own. This means standing up for social and economic justice by opposing policies – like Republicans’ dangerous tax overhaul – that force the poor and those working hard to get by to subsidize massive tax cuts benefitting the wealthy. It also meansprotecting the right to vote and combatting poverty. Success in these efforts is never guaranteed, and progress only marches forward upon our own determined feet. So let us continue to take every step forward with a resolute will. Let us bend the arc of the moral universe together through the strength of our persistent hands so that it inches closer to the justice we know is not only possible but necessary.”