New Jersey, under Gov. Tom Kean, was the first state to establish a Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission in 1983 to ensure King’s life and work were continually recognized across the state.
“Today as we honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am proud New Jersey has long been at the forefront of efforts to honor and continue his work," Christie said. "I encourage New Jerseyans to pause and reflect on his contributions to our society and to do their part to make his dream a reality for all Americans. Dr. King’s message is one that is deeply rooted in the same ideals that have made our state and our nation great -- equality, freedom, faith, and opportunity for all.”
"Dr. King once said, 'Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve,' and today I urge everyone to celebrate Dr. King's sentiment, but not just for today,” Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver said. “Let's do it every day of the year. We all know Dr. King stood for equality and opportunity. We all know he stood for dignity. And we all know that while we have made strides toward making his dream rarity, we still have lots more work to do.
"Let us all commit to moving forward with the goal of confronting the social, education and economic problems that have proven impediments to making Dr. King's dream reality. Let's do the right thing, together, to confront inequality and poverty and its adverse consequences. Let's embrace the greatness Dr. King saw in each and every one of us, and let's do it each and every day."
Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Union) said of King, “Today we remember the remarkable life of Dr. King and all that he stood for, but let's also double our commitment to fight every day for the equality and fairness Dr. King stood for so strongly. His dream of a better America inches closer, but we still most overcome great difficulties such as the economic problems that unfairly hit some communities harder than others.
"Dr. King said, 'Equality means dignity,'” Green said. “And dignity demands a job and a paycheck that lasts through the week.' He was right then and he's right now, and that's why we cannot relent in our goal for a better New Jersey. And, unequivocally, that means a better New Jersey for everyone."
Assembly Conference Leader Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) added, “Dr. King expressed the thought that 'If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.' Let's embrace that as our shared goal. Let's make 'moving forward' our constant commitment.