K Patrice Williams, Fairfield City Council pictured with President Nikila Gibson of the Tri-City NAACP Branch
This past Tuesday, President Gibson had the opportunity to accept a Proclamation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day from the City of Fairfield. If you were unable to attend the event, we have included the speech below so that you may read, reflect and share it with others.
"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late." -Dr. Martin Luther King, 1968
We are honored to accept this Proclamation from Fairfield City Council in honor of Martin Luther King Jr and pledge to continue to work tirelessly towards creating a more just and equitable society. We must remember that true progress can only be made when we come together as a community, united in our efforts to dismantle systemic, structural, and environmental racism and discrimination. Dr. King's legacy is one that continues to inspire and guide us in this ongoing fight. for racial justice and equality. His message of nonviolence and love remains just as powerful today as it did during the Civil Rights Movement. However, as our communication chair Danette Mitchell stated in her MLK column in The Reporter, we have made strides, but the dream remains unfilled. Dr. King once said, "The time is always right to do what is right." And it is our duty to carry on his legacy by standing up against injustice and striving for a society where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, socioeconomic status, and any of the additional protected classes. Dr. King's message of equality and justice extends not only to issues of race but also to issues of environmental justice. Environmental Justices included lack of clean green spaces and easy access to healthy food. In 2019, Fairfield alone had 5 low access points, one of them with a relatively high percentage of households with no vehicle access (14.9%) according to the USDA. This does not consider the recent closures and reduction in transit from the pandemic. King addresses issues of environmental racism and the impact of poverty on communities. He recognized that environmental degradation and economic inequality were interconnected issues that disproportionately affected marginalized communities. In his famous "I have a dream" speech, Dr. King spoke about the need for "clean water, clean air, and decent housing" for all people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. He also spoke about the need for "good jobs" and "decent wages" as a means of addressing poverty and inequality. As he said in 1967, "It is as necessary to fight pollution in the ghetto as it is to fight poverty. In a 1967 speech, Dr. King spoke about the importance of addressing "the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism" and he linked environmental degradation and pollution to economic exploitation and poverty. Communities of color and low-income communities are often disproportionately affected by pollution and environmental hazards. This is unacceptable and it is our duty to address these injustices, just as we work to address systemic racism and discrimination. In this spirit, we pledge to work towards a more just and equitable society, not only in terms of race but also in terms of the environment. We will work to ensure that all individuals have access to clean air and water, decent housing, and healthy food. We will strive to ensure that emergency preparedness and response are adequate for all, and we will work to promote economic development and stability by creating healthier, more equitable communities that are better able to support economic growth and opportunity. Thank you again to the City of Fairfield for this Proclamation and for your ongoing commitment to creating a more just and equitable society. Let us continue to work together to honor Dr. King's legacy and move towards a brighter future for all.