Today, Monday, Jan. 16, 2006, we celebrate the progress our nation has made in achieving the equality and civil rights Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated through his courage and non-violent actions. Each of us carries the responsibility to ensure the Constitutional rights of all Americans are upheld and that the American dream is realized by each of our fellow citizens.

Dr. King shaped the country’s consciousness and changed the course of history under the guiding principles that every human being deserves to be treated with respect, and that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. He spoke eloquently that the doors of opportunity should be open for every child.

Even in Hawaii, while we celebrate our diversity and embrace our differences, more work needs to be done to carry on Dr. King’s legacy to overcome prejudices and to break down barriers so that we may secure justice, equality and dignity for every individual.

”’Republican Gov. Linda Lingle has served as governor of the state of Hawaii since 2002.”’

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