What Would Dr. King Do? Remembering Arizona on MLK Day

01/14/2011 04:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rep. Mike Honda U.S. Representative, California's 15th Congressional District

As our country continues to mourn and heal from Arizona's inexplicable violence, we are reminded of the timeless and transcendental teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, whose life and legacy is remembered this Monday, January 17, 2011.

Dr. King's commemoration could not come at a more appropriate time. Arizona's violence is a sad reminder of the culture of violence that pervades this country and propagates such actions, manifesting in a myriad of ways, be it by pistol, pen, podium or a policy.

Dr. King spent and ultimately sacrificed his life seeking to transform our culture of violence. At the height of foreign and domestic conflict - whether it was our war with Vietnam or our nation's racial and economic inequalities - Dr. King preached peace, promoted equality and shook the structures of segregation with love, not violence.

Dr. King's compelling and unequivocal commitment to non-violent resistance sparked a movement that campaigned civil rights, justice, equality and human dignity for all. This is a movement for which we must continue to advocate and protect.

As we remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, we must not shy away from our community commons in light of Arizona's violence. We must face the fear, which violence propagates, with courage and compassion and an unwavering commitment to making our speech, our streets, and our systems, less violent.

Now more than ever, America must work to ensure Dr. King's Dream becomes reality: Americans of all ethnicities and creeds living together with dignity and hope.

Admiring Dr. King's life is not enough; we must live his legacy as well. Let us honor his life by working together to continue to build an America where every child can safely and securely enjoy the privileges of equal opportunity and freedom.

Rep Honda is the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.