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WHEREAS, on January 15, 1929, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – the transformational leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, and one of the most influential orators for peace, equality, and human rights in world history – was born in Atlanta, Georgia; and
WHEREAS, throughout his life, Dr. King's transcendent words and actions inspired a shared vision of a future promised land in which people “transformed the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood"; and
WHEREAS; this beautiful symphony of brotherhood envisioned a society where individuals were not judged “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”; and
WHEREAS, Dr. King sacrificed his life to spread a message of universal equality and justice that touched the soul of our nation, and for his efforts to end racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means – such as his heroic leadership in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1957 Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the 1963 March on Washington – he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1964; and
WHEREAS, Dr. King’s words continue to resonate with the world today by reminding us of the imperative to continue the fight for justice and equality no matter the opposition, because “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”; and
WHEREAS, people throughout the world continue to be inspired by Dr. King's vision and words, his strength of character and compassion, and his model for peaceful demonstration and dialogue; and
WHEREAS, Dr. King’s goal of a just and united society and his efforts in the struggle for civil human rights have continued since his tragic assassination in 1968, and will go on until his dream of freedom, equality and justice for all is fully realized in the hearts, minds, and souls of the people of our Commonwealth, these United States, and the world;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize January 15, 2017, as MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.