Today, Americans celebrate the life and legacy of a true national icon, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The American Jewish Congress was founded a century ago, on the principle that in order to create a better society for Jews, a better society must be created for everyone.
Perhaps no one has better represented this core value than Dr. King, a visionary and a leader who knew that to truly lift up the African American community, all of society must be elevated and raised up to a standard of equality. When one among us is denied equality, true equality can exist for none of us.
During the Civil Rights Movement, American Jews, including members of our organization, worked closely with other minority communities to end various forms of discrimination, including coauthoring landmark legislation to end housing and workplace discrimination in a number of U.S. states.
Members of the American Jewish Congress also had the honor of marching alongside Dr. King in Washington. Rabbi Joachim Prinz, then-President of the American Jewish Congress, delivered remarks immediately before Dr. King began his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, saying: “The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful, and the most tragic problem is silence.”
Dr. King saw an American future in which all peoples, regardless of religious beliefs, ethnic background, or any other factor that makes us different, would stand together and live together. As a society, we have made tremendous strides toward that vision, but there is still much work to be done. Dr. King’s words and actions continue to inspire us to keep marching toward that future, and to never settle for anything less than true liberty, justice, and equality for all.
We hope you will join us in honoring the values Dr. King stood for, which reflect the best of this nation and the many communities and peoples that form it. In doing so, you help defend the universal values of respect and tolerance he fought for in his lifetime.
American Jewish Congress