Immigrant Rights Groups Stand with Martin Luther King, III, in Call to Conscience Against Injustices at Border and Beyond

SAN DIEGO, CA --  In commemoration of the 55th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal “I Have a Dream” speech, his son, Martin Luther King, III, will visit the San Diego border area to highlight the injustices that migrants, refugees, and border communities face. Mr. King will deliver his remarks next to the border wall.

The event will be live streamed starting at 10:45 PST / 1:45 EST via Alliance San Diego’s Facebook page.

Immigrant rights groups commend this historic event, and stand with Mr. King as he issues a call to conscience for the nation to mobilize in support of civil rights protections for all people, regardless of race, creed, or status.

Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), ACLU, United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Interfaith Justice Coalition, and Church World Service (CWS) issued the following statements:

Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of Southern Border Communities Coalition:

“Just as Dr. King’s “Dream” speech addressed the crisis of race relations in the United States, Mr. King seeks to continue the call to conscience to the nation to address the current injustices against immigrants and border communities. The increased militarization of the border threatens the civil liberties of millions of border residents, and are offensive to our country’s values of equality and justice. Border communities deserve to live freely and with dignity.

“Mr. King’s historic border visit is a reminder of his father’s call to action to the human family, to not be satisfied ‘until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.’"

Chris Rickerd, ACLU senior policy counsel:

“By traveling to the southwest border to commemorate his father, Martin Luther King, III, stands in unity with border residents and migrants, bringing dignity to their rights and condemnation for government abuses like family separation. Congress must also be on the right side of history and listen to border communities who resoundingly reject Trump’s atrociously expensive, harmful, and ineffective wall obsession.”  

Greisa Martinez Rosas, deputy executive director at United We Dream:

"Mr. King’s visit to the border on the 55th anniversary of his father’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a reminder to all us of that the liberation sought by Dr. King and the liberation sought by immigrants, refugees, Black people and people of color today are connected.

Dr. King taught us that darkness doesn’t drive out darkness; only light can do that. So immigrant youth and our families call on all people of conscience to rise up with light and love for our communities by demanding our elected officials end the deportation force that is hunting down our people at the border and across the country."

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Fifty-five years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made an indelible mark on the consciousness of our nation with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Today, as we recall this milestone and all the progress made, we also dutifully reflect on the indignities that people of color—including migrant families seeking safety and freedom, opportunity, and a chance to live free from fear—continue to face. Reinvigorated in our commitment to equality and justice, we continue to draw inspiration from Dr. King’s vision, and from those working to carry out his legacy, to continue in the fight for our shared dreams of a more equitable and inclusive American future enriched by the contributions of all of us who call the United States home.”

Joyce Ajlouny, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) General Secretary, issued the following statement:

“The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) stands with the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, III, as he commemorates his father’s legacy in Friendship Park at San Diego, California. It is fitting that he visits the U.S.-Mexico border on the 55th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. This visit to the border continues his father’s legacy of pursuing civil rights protections for all, especially the most vulnerable. Today, that includes those seeking asylum and unfairly targeted by cruel border policies.

AFSC, a Quaker peace and justice organization, enjoyed a long collaborative history with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., including arranging Dr. King’s travel to India to learn more about Gandhian nonviolence in 1959, publishing his “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” in 1964, supporting the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, and nominating Dr. King to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. We continue the legacy of our partnership by continuing to support nonviolent movements to address root causes of violence, discrimination, poverty, and other forms of injustice.”

The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Journey To Justice Dream Riders issued the following statement:

“In the legacy of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement, 11 young immigrants are riding from border to border to lift up the need for Citizenship For All. As many states still do not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, the Dream Riders and riding their bicycles over 1,700 miles and stopping in 33 communities along the way to share stories, discuss common issues and collaborate towards a collective dream of human rights for all. Their visits thus far have been filled with warm exchanges and generous support from community members of all races and backgrounds along the way. In these difficult times, these young immigrants are fulfilling the spirit of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ”Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Rev. J. Lee Hill, Jr., interfaith justice coordinator, Alliance San Diego and Interfaith Justice Coalition:

“Both Dr. King and our varied religious traditions teach us that all people are created equal, and migrants and border residents are no exception to this. We as a nation have a moral obligation to stand against family separations, the abuses against refugees, and the destruction of border communities by their increased militarization. We thank Mr. King for amplifying the injustices at the border and beyond, and for calling our diverse communities to mobilize for the more just and dignified treatment of immigrant families, asylum seekers and border communities.”

The Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service:

"On the 55th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech, Mr. King’s border visit is a reminder of his father’s call to action to the human family, to not be satisfied "until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream." Let us uphold our moral and religious responsibility to justice for all, including border communities and all threatened by this administration. We pray for an end to the unfair and unjust treatment of immigrant and refugee families, as we know that Dr. King’s legacy demands no less."


The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.


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