SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) issued the following statement to recognize Martin Luther King Day.
“I learned my values, principles and politics from my father, Bob Latz. African-American civil rights and labor activist Nellie Stone Johnson mentored him, as she had been mentored by my grandfather Rubin Latz, a Minneapolis labor leader and early Hubert Humphrey supporter in the restive 1930s and 1940s, during a high point of Minneapolis antisemitism. My father labored alongside Josie Johnson, another outstanding African-American Minnesota civil rights leader.
Together with other leaders, they worked to repair and heal Minneapolis during the turbulent 1960s, the decade of my birth on the North Side, and in the years since then. They put into practice the message of Dr. King to judge people by the content of their individual character. They fought for Dr. King’s vision of justice, peace, dignity and opportunity for all persons regardless of color, religion, and ethnic background.
Their legacy is my inheritance. Their principles are my inspiration. Their action has motivated my political career and agenda. From sleeping-in at the Wisconsin State Capitol during college to oppose South African apartheid, to passing major anti-bias and hate crime legislation and expanding the power and reach of the state human rights laws while in the Minnesota State Legislature, I, too, strive to put these values into practice. In doing so, I have made common cause with the sons and daughters of my parents’ generation and with leaders of new communities arising in our state since then, and seek to leave as powerful a legacy as they did.
We live in fraught times. Tensions are high across the political spectrum, and global conflict stresses local communities. Especially now, it is vitally important to have clarity of values and message: all persons have inherent value and deserve dignity and respect, and all racial and religious hatred must be opposed.
Today marks a good time to renew our commitment to this unity of purpose and common values – and to apply these values consistently to all communities. Dr. King would seek and expect no less.”