Washington, D.C. (January 18th, 2021) – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chairwoman of the Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“As I solemnly reflect on this month’s hate-filled attack on our nation’s Capitol, I have come to the conclusion that there are those who will never get beyond their hatred and their racism. There are those who believe that Black people and other people of color are not equal to them. We must not be stymied by them in our efforts to achieve justice and equality. We must work with those who are willing to work with us. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day serves as a reminder of what we can accomplish if we work in pursuit of those ideals. Dr. King preached a message of equality, justice, and peace, and worked until his very last breath to create a world in which everyone is treated fairly. Today, we honor him and hold dear his fighting spirit, which serves as a guiding force for so many of us.

“In the world we find ourselves in today, there is no doubt that people are frightened, confused, and in pain. Following this month’s violent and deadly attack on the Capitol by white supremacists, many Americans are asking where we, as a country, go from here. In tough times, I remember just how undeterred Dr. King was when he was faced with challenges or obstacles – day or night, he kept on walking – kept on marching. As Dr. King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” This year, celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day isn’t just important, it is absolutely crucial.

“There is no denying that Dr. King believed fiercely in the power of hope, optimism, and activism, but his journey was not easy. He and many others who were determined to achieve fairness and equality for all people endured harassment and beatings, were jailed for their efforts, and lived under the constant threat of being killed. Dr. King knew that his work did not come without danger, and still he kept on in an effort to make this country work for all of us.

“His commitment and sense of duty to help lead the civil rights movement resulted in the monumental passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Since then, Black Americans have reached new heights including the election of Barack Obama, a Black man, as President of the United States, and Kamala Harris, a Black woman, as Vice President. Nevertheless, the appalling white supremacist attack on the Capitol is proof that we still have a long way to go.

“Our nation today faces numerous challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, the struggling economy, racial injustice, civil strife, and a resurgence of white supremacist violence. The coronavirus has tragically killed nearly 400,000 people in the U.S., and – as is often the case – people of color are suffering disproportionately. Many families are food insecure, millions of people are out of a job, and many are doing everything they can to keep a roof over their heads.

“We have so much work to do in our efforts to achieve a just society.  We must focus on reforming our criminal justice system and stopping gun violence in our communities. We must close the racial and gender wealth gap, increase homeownership opportunities for women and people of color, promote inclusive lending, support minority banks in their mission to serve our communities, and of course hold every institution and company accountable for diversity and inclusion. Finally, we must all unite to stop the spread of COVID-19, make healthcare available to all, end the tragedies of poverty and homelessness, and build an economy that works for everyone.

“On this day and every day, may we continue to live up to Dr. King’s legacy and vision by working relentlessly and purposefully to create justice and equality for all.”