MLK,3 to Edwards: Don't Give Up the Dream
By: Mark W Adams

From The John Edwards Blog:

Saturday afternoon, Senator Edwards met with Martin Luther King III, Martin Luther King, Jr's first son, at the King Center in Atlanta. Please see attached and below a note to Edwards from King.

January 20, 2008

The Honorable John E. Edwards

410 Market Street

Suite 400

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

[Emphasis added]
Today more than most days I was reminded that the struggle, the message, the fight, the movement for social justice and equality is profoundly greater than any one person or political campaign.

It is certainly bigger than the political ambition of a one-term junior Senator from North Carolina. John is a leader in much more than the political sense. He is the moral light of the Democratic party.

Some may argue that he is being selfish to stay in the race, that his only roll is spoiler or kingmaker, that it is folly to believe he will make a difference, let alone "win." I would counter that his message, his fight against poverty and a system rigged against the very people from whom it derives legitimacy, the hope represented by his struggle is bigger than him -- and that it would be selfish to quit.

This morning my daughters and I attended a truly magnificent event. Here in Toledo, Ohio, in celebration of the vision of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on a cold winter's morning the collective representatives of everyone who makes up our community gathered together in one place, in one time, in testament to Dr. King's promise and hope.

Only on this day, set aside to focus on our unity, our strength through our diversity, gather together our elected representatives and clergy from every denomination and every religion, the business community and educators, students and members of each branch of the armed services, residents originating from the four corners of the world and people who lived here their whole lives, young, old, rich, poor, black, white, asian, gay straight -- everybody.

And at the end, we joined hands, together, and sang as one.
...when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives. -- MLK,3