SECRETARY BLINKEN: Hello everyone. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States – a chance to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy, and to reflect on our own commitment to the pursuit of peace, justice, and service. This is an American holiday, but Dr. King was – and is – a global figure. Around the world, people who fight for human rights and equal justice study his tactics and speeches and draw inspiration from his example.
That’s because Dr. King advocated for something that transcends borders. He fought for democracy in the fullest, truest sense – a system where everyone is treated equally under the law, political rights are protected and oppression and brutality are relentlessly fought, opportunity isn’t something for the few but for all, and citizens know that if they stand together to change their societies for the better, they will prevail. That’s what democracy can be at its best, and Dr. King dedicated his life to making those ideals real.
Decades later, the work of renewing and revitalizing democracy here at home and around the world is as urgent as ever. The United States is committed to doing that work with our allies and partners across the globe, because we believe that democratic governance is the best way to protect human rights, build inclusive economies, and create the conditions for lasting peace. And this isn’t only a job for other countries – it’s also our job here at home, to carry forward Dr. King’s work of building a more just, humane, and equitable American society. Dr. King talked about how injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Those of us at the State Department know all too well how true that is –how what happens in one part of the world can affect events elsewhere, for better or for worse. That’s why renewing democracy must be a global mission. We’re all in this together.
On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let’s recommit to defending and advancing democracy, freedom, equality, and justice, at home and abroad. Have a great day, everyone.