WHEREAS, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – the pivotal leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, and one of the most influential and powerful orators for peace, equality and human rights in world history – was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and continues to live in the hearts, minds and souls of the people of our Commonwealth, these United States and the world; and
WHEREAS, throughout his life, Dr. King’s transcendent words and actions inspired in countless millions a shared vision of a future promised land in which people are not segregated along racial lines, but are instead united in a “beautiful symphony of brotherhood” by which all people are judged “by the content of their character”; and
WHEREAS, understanding that all forms of racial prejudice are in clear and direct contradiction with the basic tenets of morality and the principles of America contained in the Declaration of Independence, Dr. King sacrificed his life to spread a message of universal equality and justice that touched the soul of a 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 Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, and the 1963 March on Washington – he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1964 and widespread recognition as an embodiment of the God-given, inalienable rights outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America; 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, his goal of a just and colorblind society, and his efforts in the struggle for civil human rights, have persisted since his tragic assassination in 1968, and will continue until his dream of freedom, equality and justice for all is fully realized;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize January 17, 2011, as MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.