Here is some of what I said last night at the MLK Dinner.
On January 20th, our country will celebrate an historic event. A man elected by the solid rock of brotherhood an unprecedented coalition of black voters, white voters, young voters, old voters, gay voters, straight voters, and men and women voting for the first time in their lives will be inaugurated as the American president. A man who understands the struggle of raising and educating a young family in a city will be inaugurated as the American president. And, as it is most fitting to notice as we mark the official beginning of the St. Louis celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and work, a person of color will be inaugurated as the American president.
On January 20th, 2009, a dream most eloquently enunciated from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963, will finally be realized. If given this historic moment, we still cannot find a way to sit down together at a table of brotherhood, then shame on us.
The new American president faces a mountain of despair. He promises to be a rock of hope. We must seize on that promise and make it our own.
There are people around me in City Hall every day who help me with the challenges of being the mayor of a city with a diverse population. Dan Isom, Marjorie Melton, Lewis Reed, Rodney Crim, April Ford Griffin, Marlene Davis, and Charles Bryson are all voices of inclusion, of justice, of a common struggle to make St. Louis a great city.
Standing at the historic confluence of Reverend King and President Obama, I repeat their words back to you. Let us stand together, as brothers and sisters tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
Now is the time to begin.