The following is the statement of County Executive David Crowley observing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and honoring the life and legacy of the iconic civil rights leader:
“Dr. Martin Luther King is a symbol of hope, love, and peace, but the non-violent movement he and other young activists led resulted in real, tangible change for millions of Americans. Through the leadership and sacrifices made by Dr. King and other American heroes, our nation became more just, and we achieved real progress.
“Recent events in our nation may leave many feeling like that progress is under grave threat, but it is just proof that the work of Dr. King, and the civil rights heroes who pushed our country forward, is as important now as ever before.
“From our foremothers and forefathers landing in this land in shackles 400 years ago, it has taken every bit of our tenacity and perseverance to move forward. We need that same commitment and determination today in the fight to make life more equal and more just for everyone. And nowhere is that truer than in Milwaukee County.
“For years, we’ve languished at the bottom as one of the unhealthiest counties in the state. We know that’s in part due to generations of disinvestment from communities of color and unequally distributed opportunity.
“We know, as Dr. King knew, that reversing the effects caused by generations of systemically racist policies and practices won’t be easy. It is not work for the faint of heart. At times, progress will continue to be slow and our goals may seem far off.
“But by continually putting our best foot forward and building bridges far and wide, we will continue to move forward in creating a more righteous and loving world.
“Milwaukee County is moving forward in this tradition in our pursuit to achieve racial equity and become the healthiest county in Wisconsin. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t spring up overnight and the landmark victories the movement earned didn’t come easily.
The same is true for Milwaukee County on our journey towards racial equity, but no matter long or arduous the process, like Dr. King, we will keep moving forward.
“I ask all county residents to join us in this work, day in and day out. Do what you can to help create a better tomorrow.
“I am invigorated every day by folks across our community who have engaged in this work. Together, as brothers and sisters, we will keep striving to live up to the legacy of Dr. King and keep moving toward health, toward equity, and toward a better tomorrow.”