Sharpton Urges Respectful Public Discourse

01/17/11 6:34AM Franny Bastian

(Host) The Reverend Al Sharpton came to Burlington  yesterday to celebrate the life and spirit of Dr Martin Luther King.  

Speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington, Sharpton reminded the crowd that King's dream is not fully realized yet because it was not just a dream of racial equality, but of economic equity:

(Sharpton) "As long as we have the top 1 percent of this country with vulgar wealth, and the bottom wondering how they're going to get to their next meal.  That's not Dr King's dream.  Don't go through your part of the dream and get up and get dressed and act like you got the whole night's dream.  This dream is longer than that."

(Host) Sharpton told the crowd the way to celebrate Martin Luther King Day is to ‘define who you and what you are doing' and work for it even if you don't know what the outcome will be:

(Sharpton) "Courage is when you don't know what the outcome will be.  But you know in your soul you can't remain silent and still, while something must be done.   That's courage, that's what Dr King had."

(Host) Sharpton also weighed in on the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Sharpton advised public officials to be careful when speaking, because we are all responsible for the tone of public discourse:

(Sharpton) "And what I say to those in public life after Arizona is we've got to be big enough to say, that even if the specifics don't lead to me, we can't continue in any indirect way to add to the poison, and then act though once we put poison in the system, that if somebody drinks the water somewhere else that it's not our fault.  We've all got to do better."

(Host) Martin Luther King day is today.

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