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Black Activists Say Politicization of Race Harms MLK’s Dream of Equality


Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, members of the Project 21 black leadership network warn that the politicization of race through Critical Race Theory (CRT) threatens Dr. King’s legacy of peace and unity among all people.

Emery McClendon

Emery McClendon

“Observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has given people an opportunity to remember and exemplify a great American leader who held to the principle that all men and women should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by their character,” said Project 21 member Emery McClendon. “Because the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory have perpetuated a narrative of ‘systemic racism,’ it is all the more imperative that we refocus our efforts on why it is important to reach Dr. King’s dream of climbing to the mountaintop.”

Falling on January 17 this year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday marking the birthday of thelate civil rights leader. Under the terms of the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” it is observed annually on the third Monday in January. Dr. King’s actual birthday is January 15.

Barbara From Harlem

Barbara From Harlem

“Among us walked a great humanitarian, leader and visionary who believed in the greatness of America. We have been richly blessed as we reflect upon Dr. King’s godly wisdom and love for his neighbors,” said Project 21 member Barbara From Harlem. “Dr. King focused on the quality of one’s life being defined by the content of one’s character and not by the color of one’s skin. With his strong Christian convictions, I know that he would stand strongly against Critical Race Theory and any similarly divisive concepts.”

Over the last few years, and particularly in 2021, controversy over CRT has arisen across America, from classrooms to workplaces. Radical political activists have sought to use it as a vehicle to completely transform the nation, claiming that America is systemically racist and must be rebuilt through an agenda promoting “equity.” Combative and divisive in nature, CRT works against the respect for equality that Dr. King sought during the Civil Rights Movement.

Richard Holt

Richard Holt

“Hoping that you will be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin is a dream that still seems so far away in our divided states of America,” said Project 21 member Richard Holt. “I hope that liberals find a way in their hearts to overcome their divisiveness and allow us to come together as one people. I’m inspired by Dr. King’s vision of us being one people under one flag, under one humanity, working together for peace.”

“Dr. King advocated for nonviolent change during America’s dark period of racial injustice against blacks,” McClendon added. “He dreamed that equality, personal pride and hope would be instilled in the hearts and minds of every person who sought them – regardless of their background. That dream is still alive in America today. Keeping that thought in mind, we must never forget his declaration: ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.’”

“On this day of observance of Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, we should work harder to make his dream a reality,” said Project 21 member Demetrius Minor. “This includes reimagining what justice looks like while striving for racial equality, and doing our part to ensure that our habitations as citizens are based on our character and not the color of our skin.”

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.

Founded in 1982, the National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from some 60,000 individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. Sign up for email updates here.

Follow Project 21 on Twitter at @Project21News for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by Project 21 members, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.

Author: The National Center