Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement today in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“Today Americans come together and pay tribute to one of our nation’s most important leaders in the quest for social justice and equality, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His teachings of nonviolence, peace and love have resonated with countless millions of Americans as we seek to bend the arc of history and expand freedom here at home and around the world.

“The arc has not bent easily; our nation is accustomed to setbacks and obstacles. But we have worked tirelessly to overcome them and move our nation forward. Dr. King believed that the government had a fundamental responsibility to meet the needs of its people. During President Obama’s administration, we have advanced many of those pressing priorities, from making our nation a more inclusive and free place for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and genders; to expanding quality, affordable health care to those who need it most; and acting decisively on climate change to leave our planet a better place for the generations who will follow us.

“Last year when I visited the Birmingham, Alabama jail where Dr. King was imprisoned, I felt his legacy in my own hands, and the hands of so many doing the work of fighting for freedom and justice. When I walked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Dr. King, my colleague and friend Rep. John Lewis, and many more brave freedom fighters stood in defiance of a racist and violent government, I felt their courage in my shoes. When I stood on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol with my colleagues, I felt the power of the thousands of protestors who had marched from Selma to Montgomery to end racial discrimination in Alabama. We must never forget Dr. King’s legacy and movement as we each bend the arc of history and expand freedom for more people everywhere.”