President Barack Obama MLK Day Proclamation

President Barack Obama MLK Day Proclamation

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2016

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION


With profound faith in our Nation’s promise, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a non-violent movement that urged our country’s leaders to expand the reach of freedom and provide equal opportunity for all. Dr. King joined a long line of heroes and vindicated the belief at the heart of our founding: that humble citizens, armed with little but faith, can come together to change the world and remake an America that more closely aligns with our highest ideals.

Dr. King recognized that, as a country built on the foundation of self-governance, our success rested on engaging ordinary citizens in the work of securing our birthright liberties. Together, with countless unsung heroes equally committed to the idea that America is a constant work in progress, he heeded the call etched into our founding documents nearly two centuries before his time, marching and sacrificing for the idea of a fair, just, and inclusive society. By preaching his dream of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character — rather than by the color of their skin — he helped awaken our Nation to the bitter truth that basic justice for all had not yet been realized. And in his efforts, he peaceably yet forcefully demonstrated that it is not enough to only have equal protection under the law, but also that equal opportunity for all of our Nation’s children is necessary so that they can shape their own destinies.

Today, we celebrate the long arc of progress for which Dr. King and so many other leaders fought to bend toward a brighter day. It is our mission to fulfill his vision of a Nation devoted to rejecting bigotry in all its forms; to rising above cynicism and the belief that we cannot change; and to cherishing dignity and opportunity not only for our own daughters and sons, but also for our neighbors’ children.

We have made great advances since Dr. King’s time, yet injustice remains in many corners of our country. In too many communities, the cycle of poverty persists and students attend schools without adequate resources — some that serve as a pipeline to prison for young people of color. Children still go to bed hungry, and the sick go without sufficient treatment in neighborhoods across America. To put up blinders to these realities or to intimate that they are inherent to a Nation as large and diverse as ours would do a disservice to those who fought so hard to ensure ours was a country dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,” Dr. King once said. As the most diverse country on Earth, ensuring this creed is reflected in our hearts, minds, and policies is the imperative of our citizenship. As Americans of all races and beliefs come together on this day of service to honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us pledge to recognize the common humanity of all people, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born.

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 18, 2016, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2015

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2015

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

A champion for justice, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helped awaken our Nation’s long-slumbering conscience and inspired a generation. Through a cacophony of division and hatred, his voice rang out, challenging America to make freedom a reality for all of God’s children and prophesying a day when the discord of our Union would be transformed into a symphony of brotherhood. His clarion call echoed the promise of our founding — that each of us are created equal — and every day he worked to give meaning to this timeless creed.

Today, we pause to pay tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of Dr. King, and we reflect on the lessons he taught us. Dr. King understood that equality requires more than the absence of oppression; it requires the presence of economic opportunity. He recognized that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” In a world full of poverty, he called for empathy; in the face of brutality, he placed his faith in non-violence. His teachings remind us we have a duty to fight against poverty, even if we are wealthy; to care about the child in the decrepit school long after our own children have found success; and to show compassion toward the immigrant family, knowing that we were strangers once, too. Dr. King transformed the concepts of justice, liberty, and equality, and as he led marches and protests and raised his voice, he changed the course of history.

From Dr. King’s courage, we draw strength and the resolve to continue climbing toward the promised land. Our Nation has made undeniable progress since his time, but securing these gains requires constant vigilance, not complacency. We have more to do to bring Dr. King’s dream within reach of all our daughters and sons. We must stand together for good jobs, fair wages, safe neighborhoods, and quality education. With one voice, we must ensure the scales of justice work equally for all — considering not only how justice is applied, but also how it is perceived and experienced. As Dr. King told us, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and this remains our great unfinished business.

Through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith, patriots and prophetic leaders like Dr. King have driven our country inexorably forward. In every chapter of our great story, giants of history and unheralded foot soldiers for justice have fought to bridge the gap between our founding ideals and the realities of the time. We will never forget all who endured and sacrificed, or those who gave their lives, so that our children might live in a freer, fairer, and more just society.

In sermons and speeches, Dr. King’s voice rang out with a call for us to work toward a better tomorrow. As we honor his legacy, Americans across the country will join one another for a day of service, picking up the baton handed to us by past generations and carrying forward their efforts. As one people, we will show when ordinary citizens come together to participate in the democracy we love, justice will not be denied.

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 19, 2015, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2014

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2014

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Each year, America sets aside a day to remember a giant of our Nation’s history and a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. During his lifelong struggle for justice and equality, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and oppressors alike, and led a Nation to the mountaintop. Behind the bars of a Birmingham jail cell, he reminded us that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On a hot summer day, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator, he challenged America to make good on its founding promise, and he called on every lover of freedom to walk alongside their brothers and sisters.

As we marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom last August, we noted the depth of courage and character assembled on the National Mall that day. We honored all who marched, bled, and died for civil rights. And we celebrated the great victories of the last half century — civil rights and voting rights laws; new opportunities in the classroom and the workforce; a more fair and free America, not only for African Americans, but for us all.

We were also reminded that our journey is not complete. It is our task to build on the gains of past generations, from challenging new barriers to the vote to ensuring the scales of justice work equally for all people. And we must advance another cause central to both Dr. King’s career and the Civil Rights Movement — the dignity of good jobs, decent wages, quality education, and a fair deal. Because America’s promise is not only the absence of oppression but also the presence of opportunity, we must make our Nation one where anyone willing to work hard is admitted into the ranks of a rising, thriving middle class.

Dr. King taught us that “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” In honor of this spirit, Americans across the country will come together for a day of service. By volunteering our time and energy, we can build stronger, healthier, more resilient communities. Today, let us put aside our narrow ambitions, lift up one another, and march a little closer to the Nation Dr. King envisioned.

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 20, 2014, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2013

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2013

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

At a time of deep division nearly 50 years ago, a booming voice for justice rang out across the National Mall, reverberated around our country, and sent ripples throughout the world. Speaking to thousands upon 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.

By words and example, Dr. King reminded us that “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, 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 country’s 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 the full equality and opportunity guaranteed by our founding documents. 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.

Every year, Americans mark this day by answering Dr. King’s call to service. In his memory, let us recall 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.” In keeping with Dr. King’s example, let us embrace the belief that our destiny is shared, accept our obligations to each other and to future generations, and strengthen the bonds that hold together the most diverse Nation on earth.

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. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

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.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation — Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2012

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2012

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On a hot summer day nearly half a century ago, an African American preacher with no official title or rank gave voice to our Nation’s deepest aspirations, sharing his dream of an America that ensured the true equality of all our people.  From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired a movement that would push our country toward a more perfect Union.

At a time when our Nation was sharply divided, Dr. King called on a generation of Americans to be “voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion.”  His example stirred men and women of all backgrounds to become foot soldiers for justice, and his leadership gave them the courage to refuse the limitations of the day and fight for the prospect of tomorrow.  Because these individuals showed the resilience to stand firm in the face of the fiercest resistance, we are the benefactors of an extraordinary legacy of progress.

Today, Dr. King is memorialized on the National Mall where he once spoke, a symbol of how far our Nation has come and a testament to the quiet heroes whose names may never appear in history books, but whose selflessness brought about change few thought possible.  Dr. King’s memorial reminds us that while the work of realizing his remarkable dream is unending, with persistence, progress is within our reach.

On the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, we celebrate the man who fought for the America he knew was possible.  Dr. King’s faith in a God who loves all His children and a Nation grounded in the promise of equality would not let him rest until victory was won.  As we work to meet the challenges of our time    from fixing our schools so every child gets a world class education to ensuring all Americans have access to strong and secure economic opportunity    let us draw strength from Dr. King’s stirring affirmation that “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”  In his memory, let us continue climbing toward that Promised Land, one more fair and more just for all people.

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 16, 2012, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.  I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service

projects in honor of Dr. King, and to visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation–Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2011

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2011

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Half a century ago, America was moved by a young preacher who called a generation to action and forever changed the course of history. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to the struggle for justice and equality, sowing seeds of hope for a day when all people might claim “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” On Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the holiday recognizing one of America’s greatest visionary leaders, and we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Dr. King guided us toward a mountaintop on which all Americans — regardless of skin color — could live together in mutual respect and brotherhood. His bold leadership and prophetic eloquence united people of all backgrounds in a noble quest for freedom and basic civil rights. Inspired by Dr. King’s legacy, brave souls have marched fearlessly, organized relentlessly, and devoted their lives to the unending task of perfecting our Union. Their courage and dedication have carried us even closer to the promised land Dr. King envisioned, but we must recognize their achievements as milestones on the long path to true equal opportunity and equal rights.

We must face the challenges of today with the same strength, persistence, and determination exhibited by Dr. King, guided by the enduring values of hope and justice embodied by other civil rights leaders. As a country, we must expand access to opportunity and end structural inequalities for all people in employment and economic mobility. It is our collective responsibility as a great Nation to ensure a strong foundation that supports economic security for all and extends the founding promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every American.
Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, reminding us that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle — the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Commemorating Dr. King’s life is not only a tribute to his contributions to our Nation and the world, but also a reminder that every day, each of us can play a part in continuing this critical work.

For this reason, we honor Dr. King’s legacy with a national day of service. I encourage all Americans to visit www.MLKDay.gov to learn more about service opportunities across our country. By dedicating this day to service, we move our Nation closer to Dr. King’s vision of all Americans living and working together as one beloved community.

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 17, 2011, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service programs in honor of Dr. King’s life and lasting legacy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Presidential Proclamation–Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., FEDERAL HOLIDAY, 2010

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged our Nation to recognize that our individual liberty relies upon our common equality. In communities marred by division and injustice, the movement he built from the ground up forced open doors to negotiation. The strength of his leadership was matched only by the power of his words, which still call on us to perfect those sacred ideals enshrined in our founding documents.

“We have an opportunity to make America a better Nation,” Dr. King said on the eve of his death. “I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” Though we have made great strides since the turbulent era of Dr. King’s movement, his work and our journey remain unfinished. Only when our children are free to pursue their full measure of success — unhindered by the color of their skin, their gender, the faith in their heart, the people they love, or the fortune of their birth — will we have reached our destination.

Today, we are closer to fulfilling America’s promise of economic and social justice because we stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. King, yet our future progress will depend on how we prepare our next generation of leaders. We must fortify their ladders of opportunity by correcting social injustice, breaking the cycle of poverty in struggling communities, and reinvesting in our schools. Education can unlock a child’s potential and remains our strongest weapon against injustice and inequality.

Recognizing that our Nation has yet to reach Dr. King’s promised land is not an admission of defeat, but a call to action. In these challenging times, too many Americans face limited opportunities, but our capacity to support each other remains limitless. Today, let us ask ourselves what Dr. King believed to be life’s most urgent and persistent question: “What are you doing for others?” Visit www.MLKDay.gov to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.

Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, and his message transcends national borders. The devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the urgent need for humanitarian support, reminds us that our service and generosity of spirit must also extend beyond our immediate communities. As our Government continues to bring our resources to bear on the international emergency in Haiti, I ask all Americans who want to contribute to this effort to visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake.

By lifting up our brothers and sisters through dedication and service — both at home and around the world — we honor Dr. King’s memory and reaffirm our common humanity.

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 18, 2010, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service programs in honor of Dr. King’s life and lasting legacy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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