Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
“Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ordinary Americans who took up his call for justice and changed their country. The great historian Taylor Branch called them ‘the modern founders of democracy.’ They sought to complete the work of America’s founding—and it falls to us, in turn, to complete their work. At the heart of that work there are not speeches and spectacles, but daily acts of service.
“We can rededicate ourselves to that work today. But we can really take it up any day, whenever we tutor a child, whenever we raise our sons and daughters to value the civic virtues that make our democracy possible, whenever we approach our nation’s great challenges with honesty and with respect for our neighbors. In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, we’ve heard calls to change the often ugly tone of our public life—to make it worthy of the victims, and worthy of the great and shared challenges we face. And if we are to do that, the most lasting progress won’t come from the example of our leaders. It will come from these actions of ordinary Americans, day in and day out.”