Message of the OAS Secretary General on the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” Speech

WASHINGTON, DC – The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today recalled the 50 years since the historic address by the great civil rights leader in the United States, Martin Luther King, “in which he shared his dream of inclusion and his will to put an end to racial discrimination using nonviolent means.”

The OAS leader recognized the historic weight of the simple phrase – I have a dream – “as a powerful tool in the struggle to confront the violence of racist sectors of the U.S. society half a century ago.” He said “the force of the conviction of Reverend King to struggle using nonviolent means to achieve profound change accomplished more than any weapon could have,” and added that “although there is a long way to go, his message changed history and remains as powerful and urgent today as it was 50 years ago.” “The legacy of Martin Luther King can be felt powerfully in the presence of President Barack Obama in the White House and in many areas of the society and politics of this great country,” said Insulza, “but there is still much to be done, throughout the Americas, to put an end to discrimination and inequality,” he added.

He recalled the important work carried out by the hemispheric Organization in this area, reflected in the adoption of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

Finally, the OAS Secretary General said that in these days of tragic confrontations in some countries of the Middle East, the world should remember the example of Reverend King.

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