In my Capitol office, on the wall beside my desk, hang two pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The photograph on top is of Dr. King waving to an audience of 250,000 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. That day, he gave what many consider his most notable speech and where, in a boomingvoice, he delivered the words that moved a nation.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The picture below it is of Dr. King in the Oval Office, sitting in the foreground, listening, or perhaps deep in thought. President Lyndon B. Johnson can be seen behind him. I hung thisphoto as a reminder of the progress these two made addressing civil rights and voting rights. It also serves as a reminder of the constant battle to fight for and to protect these rights.
Today, we remember Dr. King’s words, we celebrate his life and we honor his legacy. Let’s not just focus on thoughts and celebrations. Let’s act. Let us work collectively to serve our communities and make our cities, state and country a better place for all.
The night before he tragically died, Dr. King delivered his final speech. In it, he challenged those listening to come together to work for the greater good.
He said, “Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”
These words ring as true today as they did in 1968.
I ask you to please join me in making a commitment to stand with greater determination and to help the people in our communities, our state and our nation. Not just today, but every day.