MLK’s Legacy Tied To Events Of Today In State Capitol Celebration

Speaker Says King Would Have Been Proud Of New Movement Inspired By Ferguson Shooting And Other Events

Van Jones speaking at Monday's ceremony. Image courtesy of WPT.

Politicians, musicians, activists and community members gathered to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. at a ceremony in the state Capitol on Monday.

Speakers included U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin; Gov. Scott Walker; and Van Jones, an author, attorney and president of the organization Rebuild the Dream.

Jones said that King would have been glad to see the birth of what he calls a new movement that has formed following the highly publicized killings of several black men by police across the country.

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“These young people want and deserve better policing, but they want something beyond just that than that,” said Jones. “They want the prison doors closed and the doors of opportunity open to them. They want the prison doors closed and the doors of opportunity open to them. And they deserve it.”

Jones said the movement highlights racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“I’m ashamed to say this and Dr. King would be ashamed to say it, but he wouldn’t run from the truth,” he said. “We now have in our country … more African-American men locked up in the United States of America by number and percentage than were locked up in apartheid South Africa.”

This is the 35th of the celebration to honor the birthday of the civil rights leader at the Capitol. Organizers say it’s the longest running celebration of MLK in the nation.

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