OLYMPIA – For the first time in two decades, Sen. Lisa Brown said she won’t be in the Capitol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Although the Legislature will be in session, Brown said she’ll be in Spokane to march with others in the community one year after the attempted bombing of that annual event.
Last year’s parade was rerouted by police after a bomb was found in a backpack along the route by three contract workers. Kevin Harpham, who espoused white supremacist views, later pleaded guilty to planting the bomb.
But the march continued last year and will be repeated Monday, Brown said, “sending a strong message that violence has no place in our community or any community.”
In a speech on the Senate floor explaining why she won’t be present on Monday, Brown quoted King, who once said that people who march “must make the pledge that we always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
In her office of Senate majority leader, she has a painting by a Spokane artist that features the street layout of Washington, D.C., from the Lincoln Memorial, where King made his “I Have a Dream” speech, to the White House.
The title, “16,582 Days to a Symphony of Brotherhood,” commemorates the number of days between the speech and the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation’s first African-American president. Brown urged people to stop by her office to see the painting and contemplate how far the nation has come. And on the one-year anniversary of the attempted bombing, they might want to contemplate something else, she said.
“How far we still have to go … to where our differences are settled through dialogue and debate, and not with violence.”