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Posted on: January 18, 2023

City Manager Address at MLK Day 2023

"Good Morning. It is a great honor to share this moment with all of you as we celebrate the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This annual federal holiday has occurred since 1986 and it is the only National Day of Service celebrated in the US. With this celebration we honor the national civil rights leader who was key in challenging the racial caste system that divided our country and delineated how millions of Americans lived their lives.

As we commemorate the birth and life of Dr. King, we can look around at the news nationally and locally and see that we still have a significant racial divide in our country. The marches, protests and even divisions among friends and families show that racism and discrimination did not end with the Civil Rights Movement. Indeed, there is still so much more work to be done. 

It was Dr. King who first said -  Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

As we celebrate today, I ask you to remember that his messages of nonviolence, peaceful protest, and equality. These messages are as pertinent now as it was when they were first spoken. As he shared himself with the world, Dr. King called the listeners of the past and present to action.  

While the Celebration of Dr. King occurs on just one day — and Black History Month is just one month — the work and messaging of equality and justice must go beyond a single day or month, they must be embedded in the fabric of our community. While I and others may share a few quotes with you today, the legacy of Dr. King goes beyond these powerful words and the experiences of his lifetime - he calls each of us to action.  

Dr. King said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

 As we close and begin our day, I ask you to stand up against injustice and speak out for what is right. 

Remember to listen to those who are not like you. 

Seek out and listen to those who are different from you, who may come from a different racial or ethnic background or even a different country of origin from the one we share today. 

As you move forward do so with an open mind. Keep learning, keep challenging yourself, and continue to  grow. We are not fixed beings; we can choose to learn and grow. 

Ask the difficult questions and make the hard decisions. 

It is up to each of us to move our Community, our Country, and our World forward. 

Together, we can strengthen the ties within our City and address the critical issues that divide us. 

Now it is our time. It is our time to come together. 

We have the opportunity to move beyond the color lines, to overcome the racial divide,  and to move beyond the barriers created in our  past. We have the opportunity to now usher in a new tomorrow for all."

-City Manager Hendrix

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