Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holds a special place in our lives because of his dreams for a better, more equal America. His hopes and vision have had a lasting effect on our society and he still remains a powerful voice of conscience for this nation. As a courageous leader, he helped to advance equality through non-violent, peaceful actions. And these very actions caused a country to open its eyes and recognize the ideals of equal rights, justice and tolerance upon which it was founded.
For me, Dr. King served as a beacon of hope, one that influenced me on a very personal level.
As a college student, I traveled to Alabama to help Dr. King register black voters during the defining days of the civil rights movement. I saw humanity at its best and at its worst. The struggle for human dignity taught me just how important it is to uphold the principles of equality and justice for all. I came to understand that every person – regardless of race, religion, or beliefs – is entitled to the promise of America and the right to pursue their dreams.
Here at HUD, Dr. King's legacy of equal opportunity endures. In many ways, his dreams for this nation are deeply woven into this Department's history and our ongoing mission. Just one week after Dr. King's assassination, Congress passed the landmark Fair Housing Act, which continues to be one of the cornerstones of our shared dream. Today, our programs further the goals of Dr. King by providing safe, decent and affordable housing free of discrimination.
On Monday, January 16, please take a moment to remember Dr. Martin Luther King's struggle which he ultimately gave his life for. Please remember that his actions helped America acknowledge its shameful past, while offering hope for a better future. He left this world far too soon, but his vision of America as a land of equality and freedom for all still lives on.