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January 15, 1998

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Strengthening Opportunity and Communities for All

Until every child has the opportunity to live up to her God-givenpotential, free from want, in a world at peace, Dr. King's work -- ourwork is not yetdone.

President Bill Clinton
January 15, 1998

Today, on Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday, President Clinton attends aseries of events that build on Dr. King's dream of a stronger, moreunified America that offers opportunity to all responsible Americans.

A Call for Active Citizenship. In his first event, President Clinton awardsthe nation's highest honor, the Presidential medal of Freedom, to 15Americans who have dedicated their lives to expanding democracy -- byfighting for human rights, by empowering others to achieve, and byextending peace around the world. Like Dr. King, these Americans haverisen to America's highest calling -- the calling of active citizenship. They are models of the service President Clinton calls all Americans todemonstrate as we build an even stronger America for the 21st century.

Expanded Economic Opportunity. In his second event, President Clintonvisits Wall Street to challenge Americans to recognize that "the best jobsprogram, the best policy for urban renewal, the best affirmative actionprogram is a growing economy." Already, under President Clinton, Americahas achieved the strongest economy in a generation: unemployment is at itslowest levels in 24 years; welfare rolls have dropped by a record 3.8million people; and the deficit has been cut by more than 90 percent. Tobetter expand economic opportunity to all Americans, President Clinton ischallenging the privatesector to:

    Draw on the talent and diversity of all our people;
    Invest in communities of untapped potential;
    Support education;
    Become active participants and leaders in the President's nationaldialogue on race.

Stronger, Safer Communities. In his final event of theday, President Clinton highlights the important role strong, safecommunities play in expanding opportunity to all responsible Americans. Since coming to office, the President's work has helped achieve the lowestcrime rate in 25 years, including a 22% drop in the murder rate and a 16%drop in the rate of violent crime. Today, the President announces thatthe total number of community police officers funded across the nation aspart of the President's Crime Bill is now more than 70,000 -- moving thenation closer to achieving the President's goal of putting 100,000 newcops on America's streets.

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