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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 12, 1997


"In the end, more than anything else, our world leadership grows out of the power of our example here at home, out of our ability to remain strong as one America...We are the world's most diverse democracy, and the world looks to us to show that it is possible to live and advance together across those kinds of differences...Building one America is our most important cannot buy it. Power cannot compel it. Technology cannot create it. It can only come from the human spirit."

--President Clinton, February 4, 1997

In his commencement address at the University of California at San Diego, President Clinton will announce that he will lead a year-long initiative on race. The President will present to the nation his vision of a stronger, more just and more united American community, offering opportunity and fairness for all Americans. The President's initiative will combine constructive dialogue, study, and action. It will examine the current state of race relations and our common future, look at the laws and policies that can help to ensure that we remain One America, and enlist individuals, communities, businesses and government at all levels in an effort to understand our differences as we appreciate the values that unite us.

Growing up in the South, the President saw for himself the great harm caused by racial discrimination, and the difference that can be achieved by changing both policies and attitudes. That longstanding, deeply personal commitment has led him to make this initiative one of his major second-term priorities. He knows that America can reach its full potential only by enlisting the full energies of all our people, and giving all our citizens, of every background, the chance to make the most of their own God-given talents.


I. To articulate the President's vision of racial reconciliation and a just, unified America.

II. To help educate the nation about the facts surrounding the issue of race.

III. To promote a constructive dialogue, to confront and work through the difficult and controversial issues surrounding race.

IV. To recruit and encourage leadership at all levels to help bridge racial divides.

V. To find, develop, and implement solutions in critical areas such as education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, crime and the administration of justice --for individuals, communities, corporations and government at all levels.


I. Advisory Board. This small, diverse group will advise the President and assist him in outreach efforts and consultations with experts. They were chosen based on their outstanding leadership on this issue, and their contributions to America's ongoing dialogue about race and reconciliation.

II. Significant Presidential events/actions throughout the year. Events held throughout the year will include town hall meetings in different regions of the country, meetings with the advisory board, and other events which will enable the President to carry out his goals for the initiative.

III. Outreach, consultation and leadership recruitment. The effort will include outreach to community leaders, religious leaders, state and local elected officials, members of Congress, business leaders and individuals, encouraging them to become involved in reconciliation and community-building projects.

IV. The President's Report to the American People. To be issued next summer, in this report the President will: