Prof. Brittain spoke on Sunday at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church sanctuary for their 29th annual celebration honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Mr. Brittain said that while the world is 'a considerably better place' because of King's work, there is still much to be done, noting that he believes King "would not hesitate to condemn gun violence."
He said the civil rights leader would have been a strong advocate for increased restrictions and a ban on assault weapons. He then mentioned the set of executive orders to reduce gun violence signed by President Barack Obama last week, drawing cheers from the pews.
And while King would no doubt be pleased to see the election of the United States' first black president, Mr. Brittain said, the civil rights leader would also be dismayed to see the number of children still in segregated schools, a broken juvenile justice system and too many homeless veterans, among other things. He called the war on drugs a 'failure' and said King would lament the fact that there are more African-Americans who are incarcerated than enrolled in four-year colleges.
Mr. Brittain said that while King is remembered for fighting for civil rights, he ultimately died fighting for economic rights. He said that if King were alive today, he would have expanded 'that rainbow coalition' to include Muslims, immigrants, Latinos and others."