President Trump issued a message commemorating one of America’s most treasured modern historical figures.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 55 years ago, “stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March for Jobs and Freedom, and spoke passionately for his dream of equality and justice for all,” Trump’s message declared, observing the “I Have a Dream” speech.
“We remain ever optimistic of our shared future as children of God and citizens of this great Nation,” Trump’s message said. “May the memory of Dr. King, and the efforts we have made to fulfill his dream, remind us of the bonds of love and mutual respect that unite us.”
The message honoring King tied in the civil rights leader’s legacy with Trump’s own presidential policies.
“More than half a century after his speech, our Nation reaffirms our commitment to protecting the promise of America for all our people,” Trump’s message said. “For this reason, my Administration is continuing to create an environment where the American Dream — and its many opportunities — are available for all hardworking Americans. As a result, for example, we have already seen the unemployment rate for African Americans reach a record low.”
Trump frequently has touted that black unemployment is at a record low in America. But that figure is volatile on a monthly basis. After achieving a record low of 5.9 percent in May, it since has jumped back up to 6.6 percent in July. More important, economists have said, there are multiple signs that the racial wealth gap now is worsening, and the administration appears to have done little, if anything, to specifically address this challenge.
Government data show troubling economic disparities for black Americans. The median net worth of a black household is just $17,200, according to the Federal Reserve. The median net worth of a white household is 10 times higher. Back in 2004, the median net worth for whites was only seven times higher.
On the other side of the country, however, one of King’s children held a different commemoration.
KNSD reported that Martin Luther King III spoke at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego County.
“It is said that a nation is judged by how it treats its most precious resource. I believe our most precious resources are our children,” King III said. “We cannot rest until all the children are reunited with their loved ones and beyond that, we must work together to make sure all refugees are treated with dignity and respect in the future.”
The crisis at the border intensified in June, as the White House came under fire over the separations of illegal-immigrant families. The administration worked to reunite separated families after an international outcry, but the process is ongoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.