The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, situated among presidential memorials, is a fitting tribute to one of America’s most revered icons of justice, freedom and equality. The vision that Dr. King spoke of 43 years ago is what we, as a nation, are still striving to achieve today. As he articulated it, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ “
We want this memorial to teach Dr. King’s resolve, his courage and his non-violent doctrine, but also to rekindle the spirit of the movement that he led. We also want the memorial to inspire Americans to take up the dream that Dr. King sought to make a reality and ultimately gave his life for. Let’s complete the unfinished business.
This week’s Memorial opening and dedication provide an opportunity to reflect on the important progress that we’ve made as a country thanks in large part to Dr. King’s leadership, even as we are reminded of the work we have left to do to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of a just and equitable society.
Dr. King taught us that our destinies are inextricably linked. Our democracy cannot fulfill its historic promise until all of our fellow citizens can make their fullest contributions. Yet systematic barriers still prevent many children of color from reaching their full potential.
We seek to continue Dr. King’s life’s work by breathing life back into the effort to end racial inequity. Last year, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched the America Healing initiative to break down those barriers and finally ensure a promising and equitable future for all children. We would not be where we are as a nation without Dr. King’s vision, but we still have work to do before his vision his fulfilled.
In 2008, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made a $3 million donation to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation to help construct the Memorial. Only in exceptional situations has the foundation invested in construction projects, including the Underground Railroad and Sojourner Truth monuments in Battle Creek, Michigan.