Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined San Francisco faith leaders today at an interfaith prayer service at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Waterfall in the Yerba Buena Gardens. This service was part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration entitled "Sustaining the Dream: Through Community and Service." The service honored the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, a former student of Dr. King and national board member and president of the San Francisco Chapter of the NAACP, for a lifetime of service to the civil rights movement. Below are the Leader's remarks as prepared for delivery.
"In this difficult week, let us come together in the spirit of St. Francis, the namesake of our city: "where there is darkness, bringing light where there is sadness, bringing joy.'
"It is my privilege to join you today in honoring Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, who was a student of Dr. King at Morehouse College. As a leader in his congregation, in our City and in our Country, he has dedicated himself to spreading Dr. King's words and work. He has offered sanctuary to refugees, expanded opportunities for women in his church, worked to end violence in our communities, provided academic opportunity for young people, and rallied communities of faith in support of marriage equality. Thank you, Rev. Brown, for your leadership and your service to our community and to our nation.
"Every year, Martin Luther King Day offers our nation a time for service and for reflection. Today, as we come together in a prayerful way, we reflect upon the tragedy in Arizona, and share our continued prayers for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her staff, and her constituents, and those who lost a loved one.
"In this time of anguish, we seek renewed commitment to hope, to civility, to peace among the American people. In this time of sadness, we come together as a community to recommit to a fundamental tenet of American democracy: political disagreement and dissent must never violate our nation's values, as expressed in the Constitution, of free expression, speech, and peaceful assembly. Let us engage in a contest of ideas, never violence.
"Non-violence was one of Dr. King's many lessons for us. During the 1950s, Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, traveled to India to study the nonviolence that was preached by Mahatma Gandhi. And it was there that they learned that the Sanskrit word for nonviolence -- satyagraha - translates, literally, to "truth insistence.'
"Dr. and Mrs. King dedicated their lives to insisting upon the truth -- the truth about racial inequality, poverty, and all injustices. Today, let us pick up their torch. Today, let their faith inspire our faith; let their good works inspire good works of our own. Today, and every day, let us insist upon the truth.
"This year, in Washington, we will finally unveil the magnificent Martin Luther King memorial. It will stand on an axis between the memorials of two other great Americans -- Thomas Jefferson, who penned some of our foundational ideas about liberty, and Abraham Lincoln, who risked everything to preserve the meaning of our founding documents. It will be a great day when Dr. King stands among our greatest Presidents as a symbol of justice and equality -- our nation's heritage and our hope.
"As Dr. King said on the eve of his death, "we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.' As President Obama said Wednesday night, "All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.'
"In the spirit of Dr. King, in honor of those we lost in Arizona, let us come together in the spirit of peace and understanding and make America's promise real for all of her children."