We stand at a rare moment in human history: the end of a century and the birth of a new millennium. Before us stretches a journey upon which all humanity will embark, a journey that calls for hope, imagination, and courage. The beginning of this new millennium will be a time for great rejoicing. But it should also be a time for reflection and renewal, an opportunity for us as individuals and as a nation to examine who we are, what we have accomplished, and where we hope to go. Most important, it must be a time when we work together to ensure a bright future for our children.
The First Lady and I created the White House Millennium Council to encourage the participation of every American in our nation's celebration and commemoration. The guiding theme of our national millennium program is "Honor the Past Imagine the Future." Every community in this great land has a cherished part of its past worth preserving historic sites and artifacts that serve as living reminders of the ideals and creativity that have shaped our experience. Every community has something to give to enhance the lives of future generations and to revitalize our democracy. And every American can share in the excitement of this once-in-a-thousand-years celebration.
That is why we are pleased to launch the Millennium Communities program. The White House Millennium Council, in partnership with local elected officials, will be awarding the national designation of "Millennium Community" to each town, city, county, and tribe that takes a leadership role in marking this historic milestone. We invite every community, large and small, to participate. We want to know your community's plans to welcome the 21st century, and we will register your ideas and successes on the Millennium Communities Web site so that others across the country can learn from your example.
America's proud past was shaped by the efforts of generations of individuals, families, and communities. Now each of us has a rare opportunity to make our own contributions to our common destiny and an even brighter future for our nation. The First Lady and I hope you will join us in celebrating this exciting journey into the new millennium.
It Is Not Too Late To Become A Millennium Community
Is your community doing its part to make the millennium count? You may already be planning or engaged in millennial activities. This makes you eligible for the honorary designation of Millennium Community awarded by the White House Millennium Council to recognize enthusiastic, committed communities in every corner of America.
We are looking for efforts to bring citizens together around the national theme, Honor the Past -- Imagine the Future, by commemorating local history, reflecting on current challenges and devising projects to prepare your community and its people for the 21st Century.
Perhaps there's a monument in your town square plastered in graffiti or falling apart; maybe a cemetery overrun with weeds; or a historic building threatened by development. Help the treasures of yesterday shine in the 21st Century! Encourage families to record their histories. Make a time capsule that captures your town and its citizens at the dawning of this new millennium. Interview people who influenced local development and archive their stories for posterity. Pay tribute to your community's past.
Maybe your public library is lacking resources; neighborhood children need after-school tutors; or local service organizations are desperate for volunteers. An investment of your time and talent can be a lasting gift to tomorrow! Clean up a local playground or park. Plant a tree. Paint a mural. Sponsor an interfaith conversation. Devise a project that encourages citizens of every age to serve. Shape your community's future.
The Millennium Communities program was formally launched by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Winter Meeting in January 1999. The First Lady also announced the Millennium Communities website www.millenniumcommunities.org hosted by BellSouth, Corporate Partner of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The website showcases the projects of Millennium Communities nationwide and also allows elected officials to apply online.
Millennium Communities and Millennium States receive White House recognition, including use of the logo on promotional materials and products to identify your community as a part of the national Millennium Communities program. Designated communities also receive a password to post their projects on the Millennium Communities website, so other communities can learn about and draw from your examples. And through the end of 2000, President and Mrs. Clinton will reach out and recognize Millennium Communities all across America, to celebrate and share in grassroots efforts to ring in the next thousand years.
For example, elected leaders representing nine Millennium Communities from Richmond, California to Pinellas County, Florida, took part in a conference call with the First Lady in April 1999 to discuss their millennium initiatives with each other and the rest of the nation. Mayor Kay Barnes of Kansas City, Missouri, highlighted her community's plans to hold 50 3-K walks to allow citizens to reconnect with the city's diverse neighborhoods. Mayor Robert J. Haas described plans in Revere, Massachusetts, to recreate the dedication ceremony of its Town Hall as it had occurred 100 years earlier.
Every community in America has something to save, give, showcase or celebrate. Make the place that you call home a Millennium Community today!
How You Can Get Involved
What does it take to become a Millennium Community and who is eligible?
Any politically or geographically defined community is eligible to apply. Contact your local elected or appointed official such as mayor, county commissioner or selectman and encourage him or her to seek the Millennium Community designation on behalf of your community. In addition, governors may apply to have their states designated Millennium States.
Elected officials should draw on the enthusiasm of civic, volunteer and other organizations to put their millennium plans in motion. Military bases, for example, often have deep community roots. Local officials should reach out to base commanders to include them in millennium planning communities will find their fellow citizens in uniform eager to help celebrate local heritage. The Telephone Pioneers of America, the largest industry related volunteer organization in the world, has joined the Millennium Communities Partnership by pledging to help elected officials design and realize millennium projects and apply for Millennium Community Designation. With 800,000 members representing current and retired employees of the telephone industry, Pioneer volunteers are located in every state and can be of tremendous assistance. Elected officials should contact Bob Toye at (303) 571-9274 to coordinate the participation of one or more Pioneers in your community.
Next, local officials should contact their respective national associations the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Towns and Townships, the National Association of Counties or the Bureau of Indian Affairs to seek and submit an application to be designated a Millennium Community, or apply online through the Millennium Communities website at www.millenniumcommunities.org.
Communities will be evaluated on the basis of their pledge to (1) Establish a Millennium Planning Committee or Task Force; (2) Involve as many and as diverse members of the community as possible in program planning and implementation; and (3) Pursue projects consistent with the national theme Honor the Past Imagine the Future in particular, saving an historic place or artifact important to their community's history and heritage or helping citizens seize the opportunities of the new century.
Millennium Community applications will be collected and reviewed by each of the national associations. Designation will be awarded as applications are received by the White House Millennium Council and forwarded to requesting officials within eight weeks.
Are you interested in becoming a Millennium Community? The application process is easy. Please visit the Millennium Communities website at www.millenniumcommunities.org to apply online.
President and Mrs. Clinton will be designating Millennium Communities throughout the remainder of 2000, so send in your application today!
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