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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 16, 1999
                   The Oval Office, The White House

                            January 16, 1999

In today's radio address, President Clinton called on Americans to devote the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to national service -- a day on, not a day off. He also announced that he would ask Congress to increase support for AmeriCorps and released Pathways to One America in the 21st Century, a guide to promising practices for bringing people of different races and backgrounds together through community activities.

The King Day of Service. Service was at the heart of Martin Luther King Jr's philosophy and action. Five years ago, President Clinton signed the King Holiday and Service Act, establishing the King Holiday as a day of service reflecting Rev. King's life and teachings. On Monday, January 18, more than 100,000 Americans -- including 10,000 citizens of Philadelphia and members of our national service program, AmeriCorps --will fan out across their communities to renovate schools, clean neighborhoods and read to children. In Atlanta, the members of the King family will join Hands on Atlanta AmeriCorps members in refurbishing a house in the King Historic District to serve as an after-school education center. In Washington DC, Vice President Gore, along with other Cabinet members and community volunteers, will participate in service projects. The King Day of Service is a special initiative sponsored by the Corporation for National Service in partnership with the King Center, Points of Light Foundation, First Book and Do Something.

AmeriCorps. In his radio address, the President called on Congress to increase support for AmeriCorps. When he came into office, President Clinton outlined a vision for a national service program which would allow young people to serve our nation while earning funds for college. The result of that vision is AmeriCorps, which brings people of different racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds together to solve community problems and improve the lives of other Americans. Since 1994, more than 100,000 Americans have served their country and community through AmeriCorps. Serving in more than 4,000 communities, AmeriCorps members have taught, tutored or mentored more than 2.6 million children, operated after-school programs for more than 500,000 at-risk youth, recruited or organized more than 1.7 million volunteers, and operated more than 40,000 neighborhood safety patrols.

Pathways to One America in the 21st Century. Noting that service is an activity that unites people of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds in a common mission, President Clinton announced the release of Pathways to One America in the 21st Century - Promising Practices for Racial Reconciliation. This report highlights 123 programs around the country with effective strategies to improve race relations. A wide range of programs- from tutoring and mentoring to economic development projects - illustrate what people from private citizens to large corporations, can and are doing to find common ground and bridge racial divides. This important contribution to the President's Initiative on Race demonstrates the commitment of many Americans to fulfilling President Clinton's vision of One America in the 21st century.