Statement by the President: National Birmingham Pledge Week (11/17/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Hanoi, Vietnam)

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Recently, I signed into law House Joint Resolution 102 designating
National Birmingham Pledge Week.  This resolution recognizes that the
Birmingham Pledge is making a significant contribution in fostering racial
harmony and reconciliation in the United States and around the world.  By
signing the pledge, signatories state their belief in the worth of every
individual, that every person is entitled to dignity and respect regardless
or race or color, and that every act of racial prejudice is harmful to all.
Those who sign pledge themselves to actively discourage racial prejudice in
themselves and others.  They recognize that in honoring this pledge, they
are making the world a better place.

     It is entirely fitting that this pledge began in the City of
Birmingham, a place of some of our most painful racial strife.  We remember
in particular the September 15, 1963, bombing of the Sixteenth Street
Baptist Church and the death of four children there.   We know that the
conflicts of the past are not fully resolved today and that we have new
challenges before us.   The United States is now more diverse than ever in
terms of race, ethnic groups and religion.  At the same time, our world is
witness to a resurgence of society's oldest demon, the inability to love
our neighbors as ourselves.

     In my lifetime, our nation has never had the chance we now have to
build the future of our dreams for our children.  To do it, we will have to
embrace our common humanity with humility and gratitude.

     Hillary and I were proud to sign the Birmingham Pledge in 1998.  We
applaud this effort to recognize its importance nationally.  We urge all
Americans to use National Birmingham Pledge Week as a powerful tool for
helping to build the future of our dreams for all our children, a dream of
One America.


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