JANUARY 15th, 2018

As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.

Thank you, Mr. Lavell.

And thank you to Mr. Cook for joining us here today, Alveda King for her kind invitation, and the whole King family, who are joined in celebration and memory by all Americans on this special day.

We stand on ground where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was born, and grew to be a man. Where he worshiped and preached. And where he lies at rest with his wife Coretta.

His monumental struggle for civil rights has earned these places of his life, faith, and death the same honor as Mount Vernon in Virginia, or that famous, humble log cabin in Illinois.

I am pleased that our President recognized this last week by signing legislation to designate these grounds as a national historic park.

The bill was sponsored by Congressman John Lewis, a living civil rights legend in his own right.

It is a gift to future generations, a richly-deserved legacy set in stone.

Today, we stand in a physical part of that legacy-an historic fire station. It reminds us of the fight to integrate the Atlanta Fire Department, and the great strides of Americans who came together to bring equality and fairness to all of their public institutions.

Dr. King's quest for civil rights and equality under the law indelibly touched the futures of our families. Many of us here today are old enough to recall Dr. King, remember his work, and appreciate the gift he fought to give us.

I also remember one tragic day, so vividly, when I was a high-school student in Detroit. A day when the terrible news came out.

This April, we will observe the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.

Far from silencing his message, death wrought him immortal in the American heart. His dream of justice and our common human dignity resounds today, and convicts us each to carry these values with us in our work.

We can honor the legacy of the man who marched on Washington for jobs and freedom by fighting for both-for millions of Americans, of every race and background.

And we can still fight against injustice and discrimination today, in all its forms.

This year, we also observe the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, legislation that was advanced to address many of the same inequities in our society that Dr. King recognized.

The dedicated men and women I lead at the Department of Housing and Urban Development take this mission seriously, working every day to provide decent, affordable, and fair housing to their fellow Americans.

Perhaps most importantly, all Americans can participate in Dr. King's legacy, by continuing to carry the torch of liberty and brotherly love across each generation.

Now, as when he walked these grounds, "the time is always right to do what is right."

The time is right to put aside thoughts of division and hatred.

The time is right to honor love, forgiveness, and brotherhood.

The time is right to renew our commitment to justice, and to our country, and to never stop working for all her citizens.

We have the time now, because Dr. King used his time well, then.

Thank you, and God bless America.


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