Jan. 21 (UPI) — The National Action Network, a civil rights group, honored former Vice President Joe Biden during its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast Monday as Americans across the country found ways to remember the slain civil rights activist.
In addition to Biden, NAN founder and President the Rev. Al Sharpton, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, Martin Luther King II, and author and actor Hill Harper attended the event at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, American Federation of Government Employees Secretary-Treasurer Everett Kelley, and Montgomery County Student Government Association President Nate Tinbite also were honored.
“When your schools are sub-standard, when your houses are undervalued, when your car insurance costs more for no apparent reason, when poverty rates for black Americans are still twice that for white Americans … there’s something white America has to admit,” Biden told attendees. “There’s still systematic racism and it goes almost unnoticed by so many of us.
“When all that is surrounding us, is it any wonder that there is still a spirit of restlessness?”
Sharpton called Biden’s remarks “reflective and powerful.”
Around 11:15 a.m., President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park. The two participated in a moment of silence and a wreath laying.
Trump called it a “beautiful day.”
Later Monday morning, a peace walk and parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr. was expected to be held in Washington, D.C., beginning near the Anacostia Metro station and concluding in a community fair. The fair, held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will provide basic health screenings.
In the evening, the Kennedy Center was scheduled to host a Let Freedom Ring! tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Singer and actress Audra McDonald was set to perform, along with Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. Born Jan. 15, 1929, his legacy is honored on the third Monday of January each year. The day became a federal holiday in 1983, though all 50 states did not observe it as such until 2000.