Media Room

MLK Skanner Breakfast Remarks
Jan. 18, 2016

Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you on this very special day to celebrate the 30th Annual Skanner Foundation Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.

Congratulations to The Skanner Foundation on continuing the legacy of Dr. King through this event and through your ongoing work to strengthen our community through the principles of justice, equity, and love for one another.

These principles remind me of one of the most poignant lessons from Dr. King: his belief in the Beloved Community.

After a U.S. Supreme Court Decision ruled to desegregate seats on buses in Montgomery, Alabama in 1956, Dr. King said, “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community.

“It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age.

“It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”

I believe the people in this room work toward that vision as we all strive to improve the lives of each Oregonian. Our neighbors, families, children, and friends deserve a strong education system, affordable housing, access to affordable health services, and livable wages.

And, we have some great wins.

Beginning this year, we will put ballots in the hands of virtually every Oregon voter as a result of the New Motor Voter law I signed last year. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act than by eliminating barriers for Oregonians to vote.

We also have new laws on the books to “Ban the Box,” which allows those who have served time a fair shot at employment. I also signed into law a bill that addresses racial profiling and makes progress toward the goal of public safety for all, regardless of race and ethnicity.

Since I came into office, I’ve also worked to implement the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion across all policy areas in the Governor’s Office. These core beliefs shouldn’t be something that one staff member is responsible for. I’m holding my entire staff accountable for evaluating proposed policies and legislation to consider the impacts to historically underrepresented demographic groups.

It is also my mission to ensure that our state government workforce better reflects Oregon’s changing demographics.

Dr. King believed the Beloved Community was achievable and that all people deserved justice.

I don’t think we should settle for anything less.

Thank you.