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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Language Is Powerful

Jan 12, 2018
EC from DC

It is quite possibly one of the most over-used statements in the English lexicon, yet rings true on so many levels, “Language is powerful.” What you say is just as important as what you do.

It deeply saddens me that on this weekend prior to celebrating and remembering one of the most courageous humanitarians of all time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are hearing deeply bigoted and insensitive remarks from the highest elected official in the land. Hating and degrading people solely based on an inconsequential difference of ethnicity, race, social class, and gender must come to an end.

Dr. King would still be marching over bridges, sitting in at lunch counters, still dreaming of a time when we could all join hands, if he were still alive today. Yes, we have accomplished much since his assassination in 1968 but the longer we live in this society with racism publicly poking out its ugly head, the harder it becomes to change things. I’m a minister so I believe in speaking things into existence. I believe in the power of prayer and words, followed by positive action.

Who are we to think a certain group of people are better, more desired, more coveted in this country than another group? Dr. King stood on the platform of love and non-violence and acceptance of everyone and he took a bullet on a hotel balcony fighting for this just cause. Many people of all races were beaten, hanged, shamed, and killed for standing up for what should be the most basic inalienable rights of all humans.

I saw a story of two little girls, one African American and one Caucasian, both in kindergarten at the same school. They are best friends. Their friendship and genuine love for each other runs so deep that they actually believe they are twins. When someone told the two they couldn’t possibly be twins because they didn’t have the same mother, one of them responded, “but we are because we have the same soul.”

If children can believe they are the same within their hearts, regardless of how different they look, or where they come from, why is it so hard for adults? These girls truly believe in what they are saying and they would surely believe in the preachments of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Their innocence is remarkable and their language is powerful.

Warmly,

Emanuel Cleaver, II

Member of Congress