January 16, 2023

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) issued the following statement in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is observed annually as a national day of service on the third Monday of January in honor of the civil rights leader’s birthday on January 15, 1929.

“Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of the great Dr. King, a man whose message and life’s mission could not be more pertinent to the present moment. 

“This year will mark the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Standing in view of the US Capitol, Dr. King made an impassioned call to end systemic racial and economic inequality, stand up against white supremacy, and give people hope and faith for a better tomorrow. He delivered a vision of a nation where all people are truly equal, where America finally lives up to its original promise of freedom and justice for all.

“We have come so far as a nation since that day. Today we celebrate that progress and honor all who fought in the civil rights movement in the years that followed. But our work is far from done. 

“The white supremacist movement that has persisted for centuries and led to January 6th is alive and well, with some of its sympathizers still holding seats in Congress. The Supreme Court’s gutting of Roe V. Wade has unimaginable consequences for people of color and low-income communities. Economic and racial inequality persist each day for communities across the country. 

“These are significant challenges, but House Democrats are fighting for the people each and every day. We made progress in the 117th Congress on so many things, like increasing access to affordable prescription drugs, investing in fighting the climate crisis, providing good paying jobs, and much more. Each of these successes move us closer to a more equitable and just world.

”We have a tough fight ahead to achieve our remaining priorities and combat systemic inequity, especially with a Republican majority in the House. But Dr. King valiantly beat the drum of justice for all, and it is our responsibility to continue his mission. I call upon my colleagues to honor Dr. King’s legacy by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and continuing to fight against the three evils: racism, poverty, and militarism.”


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the Steering and Policy Committee, she is the highest ranking Black woman appointed to House Leadership.