Martin Luther King Community March and Festival
Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue
The University of Texas at Austin
Monday, January 21, 2008
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the entire University of Texas family, I welcome you all to the UT campus on this special day. Today we celebrate the life and visionary achievements of a true American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a remarkable leader who inspired the world with his dream of justice and equality for all. It is truly an honor for me and my colleagues to stand here with you at this magnificent statue and reflect on where we are now – and where we’re going – as a community, a university, and a nation.
When Dr. King delivered his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1964, during a time of great struggle and turmoil across America, he said, “When years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live, men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization, because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake.”
If we reflect on how far we’ve come, we must conclude that we are the beneficiaries of those who worked diligently and endured hardship so that doors would be opened to their children and grandchildren. And we must dedicate ourselves to continuing the journey, for we still have far to go.
It is no accident that in his portrayal here, Dr. King is wearing the robes of a scholar, an educator, a pastor. He greets us with the outstretched hand of a teacher making a point to his students. Among the many lessons he taught us is that education can help us to fulfill our dream.
As president of The University of Texas at Austin, I join Dr. King in opening the doors of our university to all the students of Texas. I add my voice to his in saying, "This is your university. Come and be transformed by a college education. It will change your life. And what starts here will change the world."
This is our time now. A time to live the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and do our part to shape a nation we can all be proud of. I join you today in that cause. Thank you all for being a part of today’s march and celebration.
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