On the occasion of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, here

are two letters honoring Dr. King. For additional thoughts on this and

related subjects, see page 59.

Recently, the members of Not In Our Town, an interfaith, anti-bias

Princeton coalition, reflected on the Reverend Martin Luther King’s

last sermon before his death, "Remaining Awake Through a Great

Revolution." In this 1968 sermon, Dr. King wove together the three

major concerns of his life’s work — racism, poverty, and war. Those

issues may look different in detail today but in essence they are the

same nearly 40 years on.

When he gave this sermon. Dr. King was preparing for the Poor People’s

Campaign so he brought to it a heightened awareness of the needs of

real people he had met, on the streets of India and in the overpriced

slums of Newark. He spoke of the sin not of being wealthy but of being

blind to the poor, and of the arrogance that often comes with the

power of wealth. And he mourned the cost of war, in lives lost and

resources wasted. He called for the hard work of community. "No

individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who

feels he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution," he said.

"The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that

we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood."

The seeking of justice and peace for the peoples of our small planet

is our responsibility now.

Pat Ramirez and Marietta Taylor

Not In Our Town

As our nation prepares to mark the Martin Luther King, Jr.

holiday,

it behooves the Jewish community to take this opportunity to re-tell

the story of this brave man’s fight for his people’s freedom.

If that sounds reminiscent of Passover, it should. Rev. Martin Luther

King, Jr., one of the greatest moral voices of our time, helped lead

his people out from under the burden of state-sponsored racism and

exclusion. The civil rights story, and the role the Jews of America

played in it, should be told and re-told in each generation as if we

were there.

A powerful orator, a man of deep religious conviction and intellectual

fortitude, Martin Luther King, Jr. demonstrated with consistent moral

authority what was right and what was wrong.

At a time when such distinctions seem to be blurring, the words and

deeds of Rev. King bear remembering, and repeating. His support for

Israel was proud and unequivocal, as was his position on freedom for

Soviet Jewry. He spoke out against black anti-Semitism. He found

inspiration for his own moral code in Jewish history, ethics, and

teachings.

It is fortunate that the words of Dr. King are not hard to come by,

and thanks to the Internet, one can easily view his many public

appearances. One address, at the May, 1965, annual meeting of the

American Jewish Committee, where King was honored with the AJC’s

American Liberties Medallion, can be heard on the AJC website

(www.ajc.org).

Kathy Ales

President, American Jewish Committee

Central New Jersey Chapter

Correction

An article on Heartland Payments Systems misstated the company’s

revenues, which were $280 million in 2002. The first quarter profit

for 2004 was $562 million, compared with net loss of $396 million from

the same quarter in 2003. We apologize for the error.

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