Statement From Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith
"Today we celebrate the life and extraordinary achievements of one of our nation's most beloved and influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King taught us that all people, regardless of race, were created equal- a promise made by our forefathers at the birth of this nation but ignored throughout the dark corners of our country infected by racism and hatred. Dr. King helped fulfill that promise for generations of Americans and changed the course of history for the better. He is someone whose life made others possible.
Dr. King gave what has been called the last true measure of devotion to his country, paying the ultimate sacrifice, but delivering this nation one step closer to living up to its promise of a free and just society for all. His accomplishments cannot be measured by the impact he had during his lifetime, but rather by what millions of Americans have been able to achieve in theirs because of the efforts of Dr. King.
When Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America tomorrow it will be in no small part due to the courageous campaign Dr. King began over forty years ago. When King traveled to the South to spread his message of love and equality, there was much more on the line than electoral votes. But it is because of his journey that leaders like Barack Obama were able to begin theirs.
If Dr. King could have one more day on Earth, I don't think he would choose to witness the inauguration of our nation's first African American President. I believe he would like to be around for the day after because that is what Dr. King was all about- the next day and a renewed hope to make each day better than the last."