New York leaders weigh in on Martin Luther King Jr.'s significance
The city's elected officials honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by reminding New Yorkers that there is still a long way to go to achieve his dream of complete racial equality.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by several City Council members and some of the potential mayoral candidates at events throughout the boroughs Monday to remember the civil rights leader and push for more reform.
The mayor said one of the biggest race issues is the Supreme Court case that will decide on the validity of parts of the voter rights act.
"While New York has come a very long way since the 1960s, and is now a leader in making it as easy as possible to register to vote, there remain other jurisdictions where there are efforts to impose unnecessary burdens on voters," Bloomberg said.
Democratic mayoral candidate and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson said New York's minorities still struggle when it comes to education and income equality.
He said the best way any leader could honor Martin Luther King Jr. would be to remind kids to work hard and never to take for granted the freedoms that he fought for.
"That's what makes this day so special," Thompson said. "It's an opportunity to celebrate the gains we made but also look at the challenges we have to face."
His potential challenger in the 2013 election, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, agreed and said it was very appropriate that the president's inaugural ceremonies took place on the same day as the holiday. De Blasio, who was in Washington for the ceremonies, noted that Barack Obama's message for unity wasn't too dissimilar to King's plan during the civil rights era.
"We saw Dr. King's legacy in our president's inauguration. It's a call to service all of us have to answer -- for a more equal and just society for every American," de Blasio said in a statement.