Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Honors Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Date: 
January 14, 2005

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
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Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

January 14, 2005

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Honors Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Mandy Carter of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), and Coretta Scott King at the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

"We honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his life, Dr. King -- greatly assisted by our own Bayard Rustin -- bent the arc of history toward racial and economic justice. Since the deaths of these prophetic figures, those who walked beside them have continued their vision, and included justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in their work. We hold up with gratitude the members of Dr. King's family and those who fought beside Dr. King while he was alive:

'The white, the Hispanic, the black, the Arab, the Jew, the woman, the Native American, the small farmer, the businessperson, the environmentalist, the peace activist, the young, the old, the lesbian, the gay and the disabled make up the American quilt.' -- Reverend Jesse Jackson, during his 1984 address at the Democratic National Convention.

'I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.' -- Coretta Scott King, at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change conference, Atlanta, GA, November 9, 2000.

'Homophobia is hate, and hate has no place in the beloved community.' -- Martin Luther King III, August 2003, at the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

'Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It's time we treated them as equals, as family.' -- Representative John Lewis, in the Boston Globe, October 25, 2003.

'I can't see why our society wouldn't welcome the recognition of love and partnership between any two people. I find it difficult to believe that one group ought to be free of discrimination but another group somehow shouldn't.' -- Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, Detroit News, September 20, 2004.

At the same time, we call upon all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans to recommit ourselves to Dr. King's work of ending racial and economic injustice. That work is far from over; in fact, scant progress has been made in many areas. As reported by the NAACP, in 1958, the typical African American family had 60% as much income as the typical white family; 44 years later in 2002, that figure was -- shockingly - 58%. At this slow rate it will take 150 years to close the black-white income disparity. Unemployment among African Americans is more than twice the rate for whites - a greater gap than in 1972. Educational opportunities remain vastly unequal, and the progress toward truly integrated schools has not only stalled, but is going backwards.

Clearly, we can and must do better. For Dr. King, for Bayard Rustin, for those in the broader civil rights movement who have stood beside us for so long, and for all of us and our nation, let us renew and redouble our work.


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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.