FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2007
My theme for the 80th legislative session that began Jan. 9, 2007, is Finding Solutions Together. This month we celebrate the contributions of a man whose works mirror that same theme.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., worked to unify the African-American community and other groups interested in seeking solutions to the social injustices of the time. Jan. 15 is the designated day we honor a man who empowered people to push for civil rights and motivated them to become involved in the process of change.
Working with community leaders and community residents, Dr. King forged a coalition that opposed the oppression of African-Americans in this country. I too will work with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as the people of South Texas, to achieve consensus for laws and funding that advance our legislative goals.
Although the total African-American population in my Senatorial District that includes the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Kleberg and Willacy counties is only about 8.7 percent, the area is also one that has been neglected as far as funding and services for many years.
South Texas lacks a professional school, other than the new Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, to offer our local residents higher education opportunities; an interstate highway to connect us to the rest of the country; permanent school buildings to replace dilapidated portable classrooms; expanded skills training that can result in higher-wage jobs and attract companies to locate here; and improved access to health care. Like Dr. King's struggles that led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, together we can find solutions to these problems and others. Dr. King wasn't the first to address civil rights nor did he achieve the passage of legislation addressing this issue overnight. The process can be long and slow, but persistence can pay off.
The road from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo, Norway, where Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize, was long. In his speech he said, "This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new civil rights bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a superhighway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems." To this group we can add women, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and other groups who have suffered discrimination and injustice and appealed to government for redress.
Dr. King awakened in us the need to create awareness of injustice and value of every human life. His peaceful demonstrations reminded us that we are all Americans and should not only demand equal treatment under the law, but should seek opportunities to improve our families and our communities.
As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my press secretary, 512-463-0385.