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Sept 6th, 2015

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A Memorial to a Hero Needs Your Support!

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be the first on the National Mall to recognize a person of color and a man of peace, not a president or a veteran of war. In 1996 Congress authorized the Memorial Foundation to raise funds to establish a national memorial to honor the legacy of Dr. King on the National Mall. The memorial’s very existence signifies that we as a people believe Dr. King and his legacy deserve this esteemed placement in what can be considered America’s “Hall of Fame.”

We want to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by leading a collaborative funding, design, and construction process in the creation of a memorial to honor his national and international contributions to world peace through non-violent social change..

The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.

Mission:

Dr. King championed a movement that draws fully from the deep well of America’s potential for freedom, opportunity, and justice. His vision of America is captured in his message of hope and possibility for a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity, and mutual respect; a message that challenges each of us to recognize that America’s true strength lies in its diversity of talents. The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.

Location: National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Landscape:
Natural elements – water, stone, trees – are used to underscore the themes of justice, democracy and hope, and love.

Composition and Space: This memorial is not designed to be experienced in a single way with one single message, but rather it is to have a broad accessibility, appealing to all of the senses with diverse, repetitive and overlapping themes.

1. Why build a Memorial to Dr. King?

More than a monument to a great humanitarian, the National Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be a place for visitors from all over the world to be energized by its extraordinary power; the power that illuminated the faith of our founders and now impels us toward our destiny as a nation; the power flowing from the uniquely American spirit of brotherly love, freedom, justice, and the priceless blessing they endure…peace.

2. Why build the Memorial now?

Dr. King once reminded the nation of “the fierce urgency of now” while warning against “the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” The time is now a historical perspective. Many young people have heard of Dr. King, but are unaware of the significance of his contributions to America and the world. The design has been established; the site is secured; the fundraising teams are already at work; and more than $106 million of the campaign goal has been raised. The time is now.

3. What will the Memorial look like?

The Memorial is conceived as an engaging landscape experience to convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love. Natural elements such as the crescent-shaped-stone wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, and public addresses will serve as the living testaments of his vision of America. The centerpiece of the Memorial, the “Stone of Hope”, will feature a 30-foot likeness of Dr. King.

4. When will the Memorial be completed?

The Ceremonial Groundbreaking occurred on November 13, 2006. The Dedication of the Memorial is tentatively scheduled for the Fall of 2011.

5. How much will the Memorial cost?

It is estimated that the total cost of the project will be $120 million. Of that amount, more than $106 million has been raised.

6. What can I do to help?

Individuals as well as corporations can add their financial support to this effort. Contributions, large and small, are needed to attain our goal of $120 million. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances that their donations are urgently needed.Most major employers match employee donations, so if you donate to the Memorial Foundation your employer may double that amount.

Dr. Martin Luther King is remembered as a great orator whose impact on the nation came from the eloquence and inspirational quality of his words. His speeches, sermons and public addresses melded themes of democracy deeply embedded in the American conscience, and reinvigorated these messages with clear and insightful reflections on the true meaning of justice and equality.

Within the memorial, quotes from Dr. King’s sermons and speeches, arranged chronologically according to his life, are to be inscribed at a large scale on the glistening smooth surfaces of the water wall. These passages will be reinforced through the referential use of water, stone and light as metaphorical elements that heighten an awareness of his message.

Visit the A Memorial to a Hero Needs Your Support! website and while there, take a minute to download the MLK toolbar – For every search your perform using the toolbar $.05 will be donated to the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. You can also find out how to donate via text, or have your kids log on and enter the Kids for King Education Initiative. It’s easy to enter. Children can write an essay, create a piece of art, or produce a short video expressing what they have learned about Dr. King’s ideals of Democracy, Justice, Love and Hope as well as how they plan to carry the legacy forward.

ACLU Report Hails Michigan As Model For Reducing Prison Populations

December 18, 2009
Lowering Incarceration Rates Makes Fiscal Sense Without Jeopardizing Public Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON – Michigan’s successful efforts to reduce its statewide prison population by more than eight percent during the past two years while at the same time improving public safety provides a model for other states seeking smarter, more affordable criminal justice policies, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report, “Michigan Breaks the Political Logjam: A New Model for Reducing Prison Populations,” details how Michigan’s initiatives come in the face of the ongoing and unprecedented growth of prison populations across the country, a reality that has contributed to crippling budget deficits for many states.

“Michigan has undertaken what may be the most effective changes to reduce incarceration of any of our nation’s states to date,” said Elizabeth Alexander, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project and author of the report. “Michigan provides a compelling example of how we can save money, reduce our prison populations and make our communities safer by abandoning our rush to incarcerate.”

According to the report, a key component of Michigan’s successful reduction of its statewide prisoner population has been the adoption of the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI), which links internal prison system efforts aimed at preparing prisoners for re-entry into general society with locally developed re-entry support programs. Under the MPRI, prisoners’ risks of re-offending, needs and strengths are assessed upon entry into the Department of Corrections. Prison staff also utilize a computer software program to develop a transition accountability plan that serves to guide interventions and services that will facilitate the successful return of prisoners to the community while reducing the potential risk to public safety. About 60 days prior to a prisoner’s release date, a more specific re-entry plan focused on housing, employment and services for addiction and mental illness is developed.

The MPRI program, as well as the commitment of corrections officials to providing prisoners with focused re-entry preparation, has increased the percentage of prisoners who are paroled by their estimated date of release to more than 70 percent. The percentage of prisoners serving time past their estimated date of release has fallen in the past two years alone from 31 percent to 25 percent.

“Michigan’s experience is important because it demonstrates that common sense can in fact trump demagoguery and that smart-on-crime policies can actually triumph,” said Alexander.

According to the report, Michigan’s prison population last month had dropped to 47,634, down from a high of 51,554 in March 2007. That allowed Michigan, faced with a budget gap of $1.4 billion, to announce this year the shuttering of eight prison facilities, with a projected budget savings of $120 million. In the Michigan Department of Corrections budget for fiscal year 2009-2010, direct expenditures for operating prison facilities were reduced by approximately $192 million while the budget for various initiatives to further reduce the prison population was increased by about $59 million.

“Michigan’s example is just another sign that mass incarceration may finally be imploding, collapsing under its own weight as the global financial crisis renders it unsustainable,” said Alexander. “Michigan inspires hope as a concrete example of the change in incarceration policies that the United States so desperately needs.”

The report, however, criticizes Michigan’s failure to adequately provide necessary mental and medical health care to its prisoners. 

A copy of the report, “Michigan Breaks the Political Logjam: A New Model for Reducing Prison Populations” is available online at: www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/michigan-breaks-political-logjam-new-model-reducing-prison-populations

Additional information about the ACLU National Prison Project is available online at: www.aclu.org/prison