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Oregon senator presents flag flown over U.S. Capitol to a trio representing the group after a town hall meeting at Parkrose High School.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley gave public recognition to the community efforts of the Albina Ministerial Alliance when he presented leaders with a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Oregon Democrat made the presentation Sunday, Jan. 14, after a town hall meeting at Parkrose High School in Portland.

He singled out the leaders of the alliance's Coalition for Community Justice and its advocacy on a broad range of issues, from police conduct to hunger, homelessness and education.

They are LeRoy Haynes, senior pastor of Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and T. Allen Bethel, senior pastor of Maranatha Church. They were joined by Joyce Harris, a prominent educator and activist.

"We realize that when we achieve that which is best for others, we achieve what is best for us," Bethel said.

Merkley usually opens or closes his town hall meetings with similar presentations to individuals or groups for their civic service.

On the cusp of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, Merkley quoted the civil rights leader's 1963 letter from the Birmingham, Ala., jail, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"The AMA is fighting for justice everywhere," Merkley said. "These co-leaders who are here are doing a fabulous job of continuing to carry that powerful voice for justice."

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