Caribbean pols pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Councilmember Mathieu Eugene.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Caribbean legislators in Brooklyn on Monday joined the nation in paying tribute to slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his holiday.

Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte and Diana Richardson, and City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene honored King’s legacy in their respective tribute.

“For nearly 40 years, the third Monday in January has marked a time to celebrate, remember and honor one of our nation’s most progressive and visionary leaders – the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “This day, which was established as a federal holiday in 1983, gives us the chance to step back and reflect on the work and words of Dr. King, who dedicated his life to standing against injustice and providing a unifying vision of America’s future.

“Dr. King served as a leader of the civil rights movement and worked tirelessly to realize his dream of racial and economic equality,” added Bichotte, who, on Monday, was also elected chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. “From the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Dr. King showed that nonviolent civil demonstrations could effect meaningful and long-lasting change.

“Although he was met with resistance and violence, including having his home bombed, Dr. King never wavered in his commitment to making our country a better place for all,” she continued. “His vision of progress and equal opportunity for every man, woman and child is one that we should continuously work to realize.”

Richardson said the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday “celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.

“We honor the values he taught us through his example, the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership,” said the representative for the 43rd Assembly District. “On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but, above all, a day of service,” she added. “All across America on the holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help.

“It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can’t read, mentoring at-risk youth, and a myriad of projects for building the beloved community of his dream,” Richardson continued.

Haitian-born Dr. Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, said Dr. King was “a man of superior character and dedication to a most worthy cause.

“He gave his life in the name of equal rights for all human kind, and believed that an injustice anywhere was an injustice everywhere,” he said. “His legacy of goodwill and his relentless commitment to fighting for civil rights on a global scale lives on in the work we do to protect our most vulnerable human beings.

“Today, we honor the memory of Dr. King as a hero in the fight for equality and as a testament to the power of one person to positively impact the lives of future generation,” Eugene continued.

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