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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 11, 1995
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                           A PROCLAMATION

       As long as there is poverty in the world I can never
       be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. . . .  I
       can never be what I ought to be until you are what you
       ought to be.  This is the way our world is made.  No
       individual or nation can stand out boasting of being
       independent.  We are interdependent.

       With resolution and eloquence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

stirred people around the globe to action. He dedicated his life to ending the oppression of racism, and his vision of a nation driven by love instead of hate changed our world forever. We are all the beneficiaries of his legacy, and we are grateful.

Dr. King taught that the goals of civil rights are not merely the goals of any specific group -- they are the goals of our Nation. To give people opportunity, to treat them with fairness, and to distinguish them only by their potential -- we will continue to work toward these goals as long as people in this Nation are in need of housing, medical care, and subsistence. We will continue to work as long as neighborhoods are ravaged by drugs and violence. We will continue to work as long as any person, because of circumstance of birth, is granted anything less than the full measure of his or her dignity.

Three decades have passed since Dr. King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and told the world of his dream for a future in which our children are judged "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Today, with an entire generation of voting Americans who did not witness firsthand the great civil rights victories of the 1960s, it is more important than ever to remind the Nation about Dr. King and his inestimable gifts to this country, so that all of us continue to grow in our commitment to justice and equality.

This year, the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday is celebrated with a national day of service, a call to join together in purpose and care for one another. On this occasion, I urge the citizens of this great country to reflect upon Dr. King's teachings and to take positive and life-affirming action in his memory. Give back to your community, help the homeless, feed the hungry, attend to the sick, give to the needy. In whatever way you choose to serve the public good, do something to make life better for the people around you. As Dr. King said on many occasions, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 1995, as the "Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday."

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.