August 28, 2013
Mayor Kasim Reed joined President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, members of the King family and other civil rights leaders today at the “Let Freedom Ring” Commemoration and Call to Action at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The event honored the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“Dr. King’s primary legacy will be as the remover of burdens and the healer of scars,” said Mayor Reed. “He gave an extraordinary gift to all people, regardless of race, ethnicity or class, and that is what we are celebrating today. Dr. King is a hero for all seasons and for all people — and he happens to be from the city of Atlanta.”
Atlanta has often been referred to as “the cradle of the civil rights movement.” From 1940-1970, local and national leaders in the city worked to increase African-American voting power, gain access to public facilities and institutions, and increase economic opportunities for the black community. With the support of churches, social institutions, political organizations, and businesses of Auburn Avenue, as well as the colleges and universities of the Atlanta University Center, the city helped lead the national movement for equal protection and opportunity under the law.
Since 1977, a number of Atlanta-based civil rights luminaries have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Winners of the award who call Atlanta home include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., former Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian and baseball legend Hank Aaron.
Mayor Reed and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner also met with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday at the White House to discuss strategies to reduce youth violence.