January 15, 2013 marked what would have been Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 84th birthday. Tragically, his life was cut short at the young age of 39, but the strides he made, the accomplishments he achieved in those few short years left a legacy that continues to influence the world today.
Dr. King dreamt of a better life for all Americans and gave people hope for a better future. He inspired generations of Americans with his "I Have a Dream" speech. Even now, four decades after his death, countless people and organizations work to uphold Dr. King’s ideals - striving for a nation that offers no place for any kind of prejudice or discrimination. Just this week, we heard a commitment to those ideals echoed in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address when he said discrimination will not be tolerated. There is no good that can come from discrimination.
As we mark Dr. King’s birthday on January 15th, and on the official recognition day this year of January 21, I hope that you will join me and others throughout our County as we reflect on his accomplishments and the words of his iconic speech that are just as meaningful today as when he first proclaimed them in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963. Together, we can carry on his dream of creating a community where all people can live and work together in harmony for the good of all people in our County, State, and Nation.
While great strides have been made since Dr. King made his speech, I would be unrealistic if I didn’t admit that there is still work to be done to ensure equality for all. Any person living or working in Orange County who is dealing with issues of prejudice or discrimination should contact the Orange County Human Rights Commission at 615-3680 or learn more by visiting the Human Rights Commission pages on the County website at www.orangecountygov.com. No one should suffer the injustice of discrimination, and there’s no need to deal with it alone. A knowledgeable and understanding resource during such a difficult time can make a critical difference.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.