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OLYMPIA — For the first time in two decades, Sen. Lisa Brown said she won't be in the Capitol Monday on Martin Luther King Day.
Although it's a state holiday, the Legislature is always in session and traditionally works on that day. Next Monday, however, 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 suspicious backpack along the route by three temporary workers. Kevin Harpham, who espoused white supremacist views, later pleaded guilty to planting the bomb.
But that 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 which 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 painting to 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 our settled through dialogue and debate, and not with violence.”