2 min read
Posted on 01.10.15
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 01.10.15
  • Filed under
  • Martin Luther King
  • Ferguson
  • change
  • police department
  • City
  • County

Distinguished visitors, on behalf of the people of the City of St. Louis, welcome to a week in which our state celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King fought for justice, but he did not hate.

Dr. King fought for respect, but he also gave respect.

And, Dr. King fought for integration, because he knew that "separate" would never -- and can never -- mean "equal."

If we want to truly celebrate Dr. King's life, we must make our lives more like his life, and make our City one in which our children are protected by every civic institution.

Dr. King warned us that it would fatal for the country to overlook the urgency of the moment he catalyzed.

Still a young man himself, Dr. King spoke often to his elders and peers about children. The last several months have seen many of our children, our young people, in the streets of the nation in a remarkable combination.

Some of them are graduates of the country's finest institutions, versed in the arts and science and law. Others have struggled through and fallen out of unaccredited schools that have robbed them of realistic hope of good jobs.

But, they stand together: in Missouri, in California, in New York. Everywhere.

Their actions are inspiring, frustrating, and, sometimes, contradictory.

But, they have caught your attention - and mine.

Their voices, as a chorus, remind us that Dr. King's Dream, despite the strong efforts of many in this room tonight, is still nowhere near complete. And their chants, actions, and disruptions remind us of the urgency of their demands.

We have heard them. And we are changing.

  • The City of St. Louis will have civilian review of our police officers' actions, and
  • Our police department will grow more representative of the people it serves.
  • The City of St. Louis will offer better career and training opportunities for young people, and
  • There will be fewer obstacles to second chances for adults hoping to change their lives.

But, the City of St. Louis makes up only a part of St. Louis. To make real, lasting change, other cities and counties in the region must do the same.

I hope they do. Regardless, we will continue.

Working together, with you and with our children, we will speed up the arrival of the day of which Dr. King dreamed.

Thank you. And God bless St. Louis.