Rep. Price Remarks at Durham Congregations in Action Martin Luther King Service
Chapel Hill, NC (January 18, 2021) – Congressman David Price (NC-04) shared remarks to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a guest at the annual "Building the Beloved Community MLK Holiday Forum" event with Durham Congregations in Action:
"This Noontime service in Durham has long been my favorite MLK observance, and you have been kind enough to invite me to speak for many years. So, I have quite a file of speeches, and they often deal with critical events or challenges we faced. Never before, however, has the list been as long or as daunting as it is today," said Congressman David Price.
"The physical circumstances of our meeting remind us – if we needed a reminder – that we are in the midst of a rampaging pandemic which has killed 400,000 Americans and ravaged our communities, particularly communities of color, exposing and exacerbating gross inequities in economic resilience and in health care. We’ve been cursed to deal with this pandemic with a president who has grossly misrepresented and mismanaged it and has made it far worse by politicizing it, so that it becomes a political statement to endanger our fellow citizens by refusing something as basic as wearing a mask.
"The public health crisis has brought on an economic crisis, with thousands of small businesses closing and millions losing their jobs, unable to pay the rent and keep food on the table.
"We are also facing a racial reckoning, precipitated by the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and so many more, underscoring how far we are from realizing the vision Martin Luther King articulated of a community where all can live in dignity, prosperity and peace.
"And now to all these challenges – which require our democracy to be at full strength – we have the most serious breakdown in that democracy – in our political system – for at least a century. Our Capitol has been overrun by a violent insurrectionary mob, something that did not occur even during the Civil War. They had been fed a Big Lie by the defeated president, alleging a fraudulent election, and they sought to forcibly keep him in power. Far too many elected officials were willing to embrace the Big Lie and in the case of 139 House members, vote to overturn legitimate election results. Then the mob came, incited by the president and brandishing the Confederate battle flag and other symbols of white nationalism and hate. It took hours to secure the Capitol and conclude the constitutionally required count of the electoral vote.
"We knew it was important to reconvene, and we did so, but the experience has left us profoundly shaken. We moved quickly to impeach the president, and we await the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at a Capitol fortified as never before.
"And now we pause to observe Martin Luther King’s birthday. There has never been a King observance like this one in the 35 years we have gathered, but never have we needed the observance more. “Where do we go from here: chaos or community?” King asked in a book published a year before his assassination – a question that has never been more urgent than it is today. Part of the answer, I hope and believe, will be a new beginning politically, which will enable us to crush the virus, extend desperately needed economic relief, “build back better”, and pull our fractured nation together. But such a renewal will require a rededication on the part of all of us to the ideals and aspirations Dr. King articulated at another troubled time: light conquering darkness, love conquering hate – a commitment to tell the truth to each other and to the American people, a generosity and inclusiveness of spirit, a rededication to the ideals of “liberty and justice for all” and to the “beloved community” Dr. King sought. May this day be the prelude, and lay the necessary moral and spiritual foundations, for the work we must do together to redeem our land."