Sunday, October 24, 2004

Use of Dr. King's image "shameful"

By Christopher Smitherman, Cincinnati City Council Member
Guest columnist

Throughout the City of Cincinnati generally and within African-American neighborhoods specifically, one finds campaign literature that link the image of a young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the No on 3 campaign.

The campaign literature is designed to make the reader believe that Dr. King, Mrs. Coretta Scott King and The King Center do not support the repeal of Article XII. In fact, Mrs. King and The King Center do support the repeal of Article XII.

The King Center went further and stated that connecting Dr. King to No on 3 is "shameful."

I have spoken with Mr. Lynn Cothren, personal assistant to Coretta Scott King for more than 21 years. Mr. Cothren shared with me that Mrs. King does not support any type of discrimination. Furthermore, as a representative of The King Center, Mr. Cothren stated that no one from the political action committee contacted them for permission to use Dr. King's image on any literature.

In Los Angles on Feb. 8, 1998 Mrs. King stated, "I have been an outspoken supporter of full civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people for many years ... In my travels I still get comments from people who say I shouldn't be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people, and I should stick to the issue of racial justice.

"Well, that's basically the same thing they told my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War. He responded by saying 'I have fought too long, (too) hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concerns. Justice is indivisible.'

"Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I also feel strongly that justice is indivisible, and that it is plain wrong to allow discrimination against any minority. The civil rights movement that I believe in thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion."

On Wednesday at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Mrs. King stated, "When any group experiences injustice, it undermines the quality of justice in our society at large - it hurts us all."

Those who oppose the repeal have used Dr. King's image to promote discrimination. Their actions are shameful and disrespect the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Nov. 2, we should all keep in mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and vote YES on 3.

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