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January 23rd, 2013

Obama on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

President Barack Obama

A proclamation by the President of the United States of America:

At a time of deep division, a booming voice for justice rang out across the National Mall, reverberated around our country, and sent ripples throughout the world. Speaking to thousands rallying for jobs and freedom, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, challenging America to take up the worthy task of perfecting our Union. Today, we celebrate a man whose clarion call stirred our Nation to bridge our differences, and whose legacy still drives us to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.

Dr. King reminded us that "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle." He mobilized multitudes of men and women to take on a struggle for justice and equality. They braved billy clubs and bomb threats, dogs and fire hoses. For their courage and sacrifice, they earned our everlasting gratitude.

A half-century later, the march of progress has brought us closer than ever to achieving Dr. King’s dream, but our work is not yet done. Too many young people still grow up in forgotten neighborhoods with persistent violence, underfunded schools, and inadequate health care, holding little hope and few prospects for the future. Too many Americans are denied full equality and opportunity. Today, Dr. King’s struggle reminds us that while change can sometimes seem impossible, if we maintain our faith in ourselves and in the possibilities of this Nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.

In Dr. King’s memory, let us remember his teaching that "we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

Now, therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 21, 2013, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

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