Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement to commemorate 2019 Martin Luther King Day:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored today for his inspirational leadership challenging segregation, white supremacy, and poverty. He was a champion for all Americans who are denied civil rights and economic opportunities.
Unfortunately, this work remains far from finished. Oklahomans of color still face huge gaps in wealth, health, and opportunity, and Oklahomans of all races and ethnicities still face large barriers to prosperity. These barriers are made worse by state policies that suppress wages, deny health coverage for Oklahomans who need it, incarcerate Oklahomans for being too poor to pay off court debt, allow predatory lenders to catch Oklahomans in debt traps, and neglect our public schools even as the task of educating children is made far more difficult by the effects of poverty.
Dr. King’s vision was not only a society where black boys and girls will be able to join hands with white boys and girls as sisters and brothers. He dreamed of a society where all boys and girls and men and women have decent housing, a quality, integrated education, and a livable income.
Today we celebrate Dr. King’s accomplishments, mourn his loss, and pledge to continue his work of turning our ideals of racial and economic justice into lived realities.