CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Richard M. Daley asked the owners of downtown buildings to use blue lighting next week to symbolize peace in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Daley joined religious leaders and other community groups that have been pushing the initiative to honor King’s birthday during the week of Jan. 14-21.

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“Every year at this time, we pause to think about the contribution the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King made to our society and to recommit ourselves to the work of achieving his dream of fairness, equality and opportunity for all people,” Daley said. “There is no greater barrier to achieving that dream than the violence that too many Chicagoans face in their neighborhoods every day,”

Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of Saint Sabina church, originated the lighting idea and joined Daley at a City Hall press conference to discuss the initiative. Representatives from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Purpose Over Pain – a group of parents of young murder victims – also attended the press conference.

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“We need only reflect on the horrible killings in Arizona this week to understand once again that it is the responsibility of every one of us to make our city a safer place,” Daley said. “Some people seem to think that violence is just something that happens when you live in a big city. Well, I disagree. We don’t have to accept the violence.”

Daley noted that in 2010, homicides in Chicago totaled 435 – the lowest number since 1965.

“That’s good news, but of little comfort to me and those who have lost their loved ones,” he said.

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(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)