Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner – Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Shawn Crowley
Hotel Den Haag, Wassenaar, January 27, 2019
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Roberta, and the members of Overseas Americans Remember for organizing this event, as well as everything else you do to strengthen Dutch-American relations.
I would like to begin by reading excerpts from the proclamation signed by President Trump on Monday. It says, and I quote: ”One hundred years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the great Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., took to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shared his vision of an America lifted from the “quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” His extraordinary message that momentous day in August of 1963 stirred to action Americans of every race and creed, and it continues to reverberate in the hearts and minds of patriotic citizens across our great land. …
As we pause to mark the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we recommit ourselves to the advancement of equality and justice for all Americans, and to the full realization of his worthy dream.”
The proclamation concludes by noting that, quote: “We will not rest — and we will never be satisfied — until the promise of this great Nation is accessible to each American in each new generation.”
When Dr. King visited the Netherlands in 1964 he said: “Honesty and realism impel me to admit that we still have a long, long way to go, but I think the important thing is that we are making progress.”
At a time when our politics are so polarized and people are questioning our institutions, we should all heed his advice to stand in another person’s shoes and see through their eyes. I am again pleased to see so many young people participating–or in attendance–tonight.
We need your help in continuing Dr. King’s work. Martin Luther King is known for his eloquent and peaceful advancement of equal rights. His work was based on the premise that, despite our differences, all people are created equal. Our differences do not have to divide us. Indeed, they make life richer and more interesting. I have seen that in my own family, where two of my eight siblings, Sarah and Rebecca, are African Americans. Our physical differences play no role in the family. They should play no role outside the family either.
I think my favorite quote from Dr. King is that “the time is always right to do what is right.” Those words were true during Dr. King’s lifetime. They have been true throughout my lifetime. They remain true today. Let us all do what is right and we will bring our great country–and the world–one step closer to Dr. King’s dream. Thank you.