01/19/2009

Celebrate This Day

 

An inaugural message from Morris Dees

From my office here in Montgomery, I can see the church where Dr. King helped launch the civil rights movement more than half a century ago. As my colleagues and I at the Southern Poverty Law Center gather to watch the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment that Dr. King would feel were he alive today.

But I know that sense of accomplishment would be tempered by an acknowledgement of the work that remains to be done. When Dr. King was killed in Memphis, he was on a campaign to divert our country's resources away from war and toward programs to expand opportunity for all. That agenda — ending war and using our strength to create a more just society — is one that still occupies us today.

The inauguration of Barack Obama is a true milestone — an important measure of how far we've come as a nation. But what is more important is where we go from here. Let us celebrate this day. But let us remember the work that remains to be done.