Government House issued the following message from Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the great civil rights leader who led demonstrations and marches, who delivered inspiring speeches to large crowds, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and who won audiences with presidents and other world leaders.
I believe that we must remember, also, that he was among the most gifted spiritual leaders of his time. Let us consider, on this occasion, how his faith influenced the unprecedented advancement of civil and basic human rights still underway.
Dr. King was most visible as the new leader of the long struggle for racial equality under the laws of our nation. He preached his belief that laws would not be changed until the hearts of the nation were changed. By leading and inspiring hundreds of thousands across the nation to protest unjust laws and practices in non-violent assembly, only to be met with government-sanctioned violence, Dr. King was able to appeal directly to the moral conscience of a nation.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, addressed many of the issues of race, and paved the way for many other just causes. Consider subsequent laws which now address the rights of women, children, the elderly, the disabled, the worker, and so on.
A new era of moral consciousness began when a man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dared to put his faith in the good in people’s hearts, and in his own religiosity.
There is nothing complicated about the strategy. Victory over injustice, if we are truly to embrace our best examples, we must muster the courage to choose what is right over what is wrong. The moral conscience is the great influence in such matters.
Let us resolve to develop ours, both individually and collectively, to the levels inspired by a great man of God and country, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
May God Bless America and the US Virgin Islands,
Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp