Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 113 Part 3.djvu/529

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PROCLAMATION 7163-^AN. 15, 1999 113 STAT. 2047 programs, and I urge all Americans to reaffirm their devotion to the fundamental principles of religious freedom and religious tolerance. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of Jeinuary, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety- nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third. WILLIAM J. CLINTON Proclamation 7163 of January 15, 1999 Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 1999 By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation January 15 would have marked the 70th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of great vision and moral piu-pose whose dream for our Nation set into motion such powerful, sweeping changes that their impact is still being felt today. While he was taken from us too soon, we still have with us the gifts of his vision, convictions, eloquence, and example. We still hear the echo of his voice telling us that "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" We know what Dr. King did for others. He energized and mobilized a generation of Americans, black and white, to join in the struggle for civil rights, to respond to violence, hatred, and imjust incarceration with the spirit of peace, love, and righteousness. He taught us that we could not claim America as the land of justice, freedom, and equality as long as millions of our citizens continually and systematically faced discriminatory and oppressive treatment. He challenged us to recognize that the fundamental rights of all Americans are forever interconnected, for "we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, af- fects all indirectly." Martin Luther King, Jr., awakened America's conscience to the immorality of racism. He was the driving force behind the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. For African Americans, this landmark legislation meant that the opportunity for a quality education would no longer be impossible, the levers of the voting booth would no longer be out of reach, and the purchase of a dream home would no longer be unattainable. Millions of Americans—of every race and background and culture—live brighter lives today because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King's dream of unity for America did not die with him. Today, as our Nation becomes increasingly multiracial and multiethnic, his compelling vision is more important than ever, and the means for realizing it are now within our reach. This past year, as part of my Initiative on Race, Americans across the country participated in thousands of honest and open conversations about race in a sincere effort to heal our divisions and move toward genuine reconciliation. We learned much about the roots of prejudice; but more important, we learned much about how to overcome it. In community after community, in every field of endeavor from sports and education to business and reli-