President Clinton Honors Martin Luther King Through Words and Deeds

President Clinton Honors Martin Luther King Through Words and Deeds

Monday, January 15, 2001

Today, President Clinton will join ninety Americorps members in repairing and painting the Greenleaf Senior Center in Washington, D.C. in honor of Martin Luther King. In 1994, the President signed the King Holiday and Service Act, establishing the King holiday as a national day of service, and for the fourth year in a row, President Clinton will participate in a community service project in recognition of this day. At the senior center, the President will celebrate the launching of the new D.C. City Year AmeriCorps site, swearing in the new City Year corps members. Today the President will also participate in the 16th Annual Citywide Observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday at the University of District of Columbia, where he will announce the All AmeriCorps Awards, and call on all Americans to continue bringing people of different races and backgrounds together through community service.

MAKING THE KING HOLIDAY "A DAY ON, NOT A DAY OFF." In 1994, President Clinton signed the King Holiday and Service Act, sponsored by Sen. Harris Wofford and Rep. John Lewis, to make the King Holiday a day of service that brings people together. The Day of Service is led by the Corporation for National Service, the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and other partners with citizens across the country observing this day by tutoring children, painting classrooms, delivering meals and other community projects. The President will promote service in the District of Columbia by visiting the Greenleaf Senior Center, where he will join efforts to paint and repair the center. He will also swear in 31 members of the new Washington, D.C. City Year site, a national service program for 17-24 year-olds. The President first visited City Year in Boston in 1991 as a candidate when there were 50 corps members. With support from AmeriCorps, City Year has grown to more than 1,000 members serving 13 cities, including the new Washington D.C. site.

RECOGNIZING PROGRESS AND SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE. Today the President will join Mayor Anthony Williams, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the D.C. Commission on National and Community Service, and local other officials at the King Observance at the University of the District of Columbia. He will highlight the progress in civil rights and economic opportunity, and urge Americans to continue working together to achieve King’s dream of One America. He will also reflect on the stunning growth and success of AmeriCorps and other community service initiatives, recognizing the 10 winners of the second annual All AmeriCorps Awards to honor the efforts and accomplishments of AmeriCorps members. Since 1994, nearly 200,000 men and women have joined AmeriCorps -- more than have served in the Peace Corps since it was established in 1961. Other national service programs also have record levels of participation, with 500,000 older Americans serving in the Senior Corps and more than one million students involved in service-learning. The President will also announce the creation of the Eli Segal Entrepreneurial Award for an AmeriCorps member or alum who is an outstanding entrepreneurial leader. A successful businessman, Segal was the first CEO of the Corporation for National Service and the CEO of the Welfare-to-Work Partnership.

Continuing An Eight Year Track Record of Support for Revitalizing Our Nation's Capital. Today, Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams will present President Bill Clinton with the Martin Luther King "Living the Dream" Award for the President's steadfast commitment to revitalizing the District of Columbia. In the early and mid-1990s, the city faced a severe financial crisis. President Clinton stepped in to help, backing the DC Financial Control Board, and establishing the DC Task Force to bring the federal agency's resources to bear on the city's problems. In 1997, the President enacted the Revitalization Act, fundamentally restructuring the federal relationship with the District and providing $2.2 billion over the next five years to cover state-like functions. That year, the President signed the Taxpayer Relief Act, providing $1.2 billion in targeted tax incentives for job growth, economic development, and homeownership in Washington DC. In 1999, the President capitalized the new economic development corporation of the city, the NCRC, with $25 million, and the following year backed a New York Avenue Metro station which will promote economic development with another $25 million.

In 1999, the President achieved the College Access Act, providing $17 million every year for high school students in DC to attend out-of-state colleges at in-state tuition rates. The President's agencies also contributed through OMB's DC Task Force in myriad ways to help DC, including by providing $110 million for low-density, mixed income affordable housing in Anacostia, and $32 million to train out-of-school youth for jobs in the modern metropolitan economy. The President has defended home rule by beating back intrusive appropriations riders, restoring the historic Wilson building to the people of the city, and backing voting representation for the city. Even in his final days in office, the President continues to support District revitalization. Today, he presents Mayor Williams and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton with a copy of the Southeast Federal Center bill, which will help GSA to encourage private development in Southeast Washington, D.C.

CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF VOLUNTEERS. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers. The President will celebrate the valuable contribution of America’s volunteers and encourage increased volunteering at home and abroad. An estimated 56 percent of Americans -- 109 million people -- volunteered in 1998, contributing 20 billion hours of service. This level was an all-time high and 20 million more than volunteered than in 1993. In addition, charitable giving reached a record $190 billion in 1999, increasing 43 percent over 1993. The U.S. Steering Committee for the International Year of Volunteers is planning programs and events to challenge all Americans to become involved in volunteering and to celebrate the volunteer efforts already underway in their communities.

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