U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Commemorates
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022

Each January, we celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave voice  to the civil rights movement and the struggle for equality for Black Americans. A federal  holiday for more than two decades, we honor Dr. King’s work through service to others – helping the stranger and making our community a stronger, safer and more just place.  This work cannot – and should not – be confined to one day a year.  

To truly honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must work daily to  right the wrongs of systemic racism and economic and health disparities, as well as hate  and intolerance. In his 1963 letter from Birmingham, Dr. King wrote: Injustice anywhere  is a threat to justice everywhere … Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

It is fitting that within days of Martin Luther King Jr. Day that the U.S. Senate will  consider legislation to preserve and protect voting rights. This is a matter of upholding our  democracy. We must act to make sure everyone has the right to vote and their vote is  counted accurately. At the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, President Lyndon  Johnson described ‘the vote’ as “the most powerful instrument ever devised by human  beings for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison  people because they are different from others.” 

After record turnout in 2020, during a pandemic, far too many states across the country  are taking steps that would make it harder for Black Americans, Latinos, seniors, people  with disabilities, young people and others to vote. We can best honor Dr. King by  reinforcing and expanding the right to vote instead of weakening and restricting this  sacred right. These actions are as un-American as you can get, yet they continue. 

The Senate needs to act and put an end to such unconstitutional measures. If only  Republicans of today would mind the words of former President Ronald Reagan, who said,  “The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster  diminished.” 

This is a perilous time for our nation. Will we choose to maintain and strengthen our  democracy, or will we allow authoritarianism to take root? In memory of Martin Luther  King Jr., and every man and woman who sacrificed on the unending path to make our  nation a more perfect union, I will do everything in my power to preserve our democracy  and make a more equitable and just nation. At times of great despair and frustration, the  words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. serve as my guide in this mission: “The arc of  the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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Sen. Benjamin Cardin