On video: Rep. Strom Peterson’s first speech on House floor — What would Dr. King see today?

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Freshman Rep. Strom Peterson (D-21), used his first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives to ask his colleagues a simple question: What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. see if he were alive today?

Peterson said Dr. King would find the quality of Washington state schools still largely divided by race and class.

“Today, it’s not enough to honor Dr. King with words,” Peterson said. “Fifty years ago it was separate drinking fountains, and today it’s the achievement gap in our schools. It’s not as obvious and it’s not as visible, but the damage to our children is just as real. And Dr. King would march.”

Peterson left the Edmonds City Council earlier this month after being elected to the State Legislature in November.

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! A darn good speech in content that was well delivered. Strom, did good! And that was his first speech; can’t wait to hear future ones.

  2. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the voters of the 21st District made not just the right choice – we made an important choice. Clearly, Strom will make a difference. Well done Strom!

  3. Yes, Dr King would likely be marching. But he would also be taking action. What can be done to change it and change it on every level is the challenge. Not speeches with no substance. Dr King was courageous, his speeches substantive and moving, and his actions changed much.
    What will the WA state legislature do to actually make the changes? Speeches ( unless you are Dr King whose speeches alone changed people) don’t mean much without actions.
    What does Strom propose to do about it? Doesn’t the Edmonds school district have the same issues as the Tacoma schools just with a bigger budget? What is the plan?

  4. I am happy to report that the Edmonds School District is doing something about this. Our Strategic Direction work includes an “Equity of Opportunity” workgroup. In fact, we are meeting tonight. We’ve identified the need to examine our policies and procedures that continue to work against people of color, including our hiring practices, gifted programs and more. We are one of the only districts to have an Equity and Outreach Coordinator working in our schools to establish equity teams and training our staff. Strom is right, it is not obvious and not visible, but bringing it to our attention is the first step. Nice Job Strom!

  5. It is totally obvious that our country is divided by race and class…….unless of course you are white and pri iledged …….to not have noticed this , one would have to have not cared or been in total denial, or have the blinders of white priviledge on

    . Edmonds is not so totally divided BECAUSE it is mostly white, and many have blinders on and pretend everyone is having an “Edmonds kind of day”.

  6. Great speech, Strom.Thanks for reminding us all of the invisible, insidious discrimination rampant in today’s society. The important step now is to take action – raising the minimum wage, providing equal funding to all schools and changing attitudes to eliminate bias in hiring and in the judicial system.

  7. Lest we forget:

    Republican President Reagan Designates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a Federal Holiday

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/13/archives-president-reagan-designates-martin-luther-king-jr-day-federal-holiday

    On 28 August 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. organised a now historic march to Washington to show the importance of solving the United States racial problems. About 250,000 people gathered and listened to his immortal words: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-wall.html

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