By Kenya King (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
On Sunday, Jan.15, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 83rd birthday, President Barack Obama sent one of his most trusted advisers, Valerie Jarrett, to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to deliver a message that reverberated Dr. King’s call to action of service and of being “thy brother’s keeper.”
“I believe that if Dr. King were here with us today, he would join us in celebrating the progress we’ve made. And he’d also challenge us to do more, for there is far more left to do,” said Jarrett, who serves as President Obama’s senior adviser.
In 1963, conceivably no one would have dreamt that 48 years after Dr. King penned the book “Why We Can’t Wait,” detailing the countless rationales why African Americans deserved equality, the first African-American president would launch his second presidential bid fighting for those who still can’t wait. Today, the “we” not only includes African Americans, but can include anyone of any race who strives to find impartiality and equal opportunity.
When Dr. King launched the Poor People’s Campaign, he advocated for economic equality. Jarrett said that King’s leadership serves as an inspiration to Obama today, and is confident that the president “has felt that we must all pick up the baton and run the next leg of the race” with a “fierce urgency of now. I think it is embedded in president Obama’s attitude each and every day,” she said.
Jarrett affirms that the president is unceasingly diligent and remains stirred to make a difference on behalf of those who have struggled and have been impacted by the Republicans’ refusal to pass the American Jobs Act.
She also made a fervent petition for everyone to do his or her part in fighting for continued change.
“This country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules,” said Jarrett in quoting Obama. “We simply cannot return to this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class – and we have to be – this kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise that it’s at the very heart of America: that this is a place where you can make it if you try,” she added.
President Obama has stated that “fighting for a nation that reflects our most deeply held values is what it means to carry on the legacy of Martin Luther King.” Jarrett says the White House encourages individuals to demonstrate their gratitude for Dr. King’s contributions through service to others. Those needing a place to volunteer each year can search online at www.MLKday.org, and can join the MLK Service Network to stay informed.
President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and others in the administration participated in the MLK Day of Service. “It’s a perfect way to pay tribute to his life’s work, and as he said, everyone can serve,” Jarrett added. “It’s something anyone can do, in any community.”
During her speech, Jarrett received a wave of audience buzz when she tendered remarks about the plight of being able to