Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky released the following statement in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
While accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on December 11, 1964, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the following –
Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress.
Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.
These words struck a particular chord with me in my work as Chair of the Consumer Protection subcommittee, as we work to make sure that our advancements in technology don’t sacrifice our spirit and our ability to live together as Americans.
At a deeper level, in the wake of the attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, it’s a reminder that our leaps and bounds in technology, 55 years after Dr. King delivered those words, has created the misinformation and disinformation echo chamber that fueled this violent, misguided insurrection. Our social media companies and news organizations have a duty to protect Americans and people around the globe from false and purposely malicious information, which have at times come through organized missions from foreign adversaries.
On this Martin Luther King Jr. day, I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in committing to creating an environment where we can return to the ‘simple art of living together’ Dr. King called for. We need to return to a national and global community based on facts, based on science, where we are improving the lives of all Americans today and ensuring a healthy and more equitable future for our future generations.”