Sisters and Brothers,
This week we will see a new Administration sworn into office in Washington, D.C.
With the Biden/Harris presidency, we will see the nation’s first female, and biracial Vice President along with a cabinet that promises to be the most diverse ever. And they will be joining a Congress that is the most diverse in our nation’s history.
We have much to celebrate and much to be proud of. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said he dreamt about how his four little children would one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. We are not there yet, but I am hopeful that we are on our way.
Our government is going to look more like America than ever before, and as we celebrate the life and message of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on this day, I want to recognize the hundreds of thousands of Americans of different religions and orientations — Black, white, and brown — who were all united this past year, marching from coast to coast to demand an end to the systemic racism that has plagued our nation since its founding in protest over the brutal killing of George Floyd last May and so many other men and women before and since. Americans standing together against fear, bigotry and racism to go the way the Reverend would go. I know he would have locked arms and marched with us.
But as we celebrate Dr. King and great work and great sacrifices, we also have to reckon with the fact that some folks are going the wrong way. We all watched in horror as our Capitol was stormed and ransacked on January 6 by a mob carrying Confederate flags, seeking to disrupt our democracy and the very foundation of our nation. People looking to divide us; to make it about us vs. them; people afraid of diversity; people who think America should work for them alone. The very kind of people who martyred Reverend King in the prime of his life. The very kind of people who do not want us to find our way.
Brothers and sisters this isn’t us. This isn’t the America we want or need to get things done, to be held up as a shining example of how our nation should be, to lead again on a world stage. As I have said many times in the past, there is much, much more that unites us than divides us. Dr. King knew this. Congressman John Lewis, the great freedom fighter who we lost this past summer, knew this. Legendary UAW president Walter Reuther knew this. We have seen countless examples of that this past year as we worked together to combat this terrible virus. As we worked together, and continue to work together, to keep each other safe.
So, in honor of the great man we celebrate today, let us stay on that right road and go in that right direction and see each other as neighbors. Let us say in one voice: It is not us vs. them. We are ALL AMERICANS. Our arc still bends toward justice.
Let us judge each other by the content of our character.
God bless us all and this great nation of ours.
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