History of Investigations

The Bombing

1997 Janet Reno Speech

Boston Busing Violence

For Sale:

Long Time Coming: An Insider's Story of the Birmingham Church Bombing that Rocked the World.

Behind the Stained Glass: A History of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Until Justice Rolls Down: The Birmingham Church Bombing Case

4 Little Girls: 1998 Spike Lee Documentary

 6                         JANET RENO 
10                      JANUARY 15, 1997 
13                         10:30 A.M. 
15                 16TH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH 
16                    BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA 
 1     JANUARY 15, 1997            10:30 A.M. 
 3               MS. RENO:  Thank you so much.  I am so 
 4     very honored to be here today at the 16th Street 
 5     Baptist Church.  And, Reverend Hamlin, I want to 
 6     thank you for making me feel so welcome.  Thank 
 7     you for making me feel so welcome today and at 
 8     home. 
 9               I am humbled by the opportunity to 
10     speak to you today, a day of such special 
11     importance to all this nation, the birth date of 
12     Dr. Martin Luther King.  I wish every American 
13     could spend time, as I have this morning, walking 
14     through the Civil Rights Institute across the 
15     street reading and rereading some of Dr. King's 
16     speeches, hearing them directly as he said them 
17     and trying to imagine what those days of April 
18     and May and September of 1963 were like. 
19               Martin Luther King was a man who saw 
20     wrong and never ceased trying to right it.  He 
21     felt the weight of oppression and he was never 
22     ever broken by it.  His life embodied and he 
23     helped to define the true spirit of this great 
24     nation, our quest for justice.  And he was able 
25     to express his outrage in yearning for justice so 
 1     forcefully and so eloquently that he reached into 
 2     the soul of America and America responded. 
 3               Dr. King had the strength of spirit to 
 4     withstand jail and march in the midst of angry 
 5     racism and he had the courage to battle hate with 
 6     love.  He did all this to bring America together 
 7     as never before. 
 8               It was here in Birmingham and here at 
 9     the 16th Street Baptist Church that America 
10     witnessed some of the most heroic efforts and 
11     some of the lowest, darkest moments of the civil 
12     rights struggle.  It was here in this church 
13     thirty-four years ago that an ugly, horrible 
14     racist attack took the innocent lives of four 
15     young girls who were getting ready to participate 
16     in their first adult service.  They were growing 
17     up.  I'm honored that Altha Robertson and 
18     Commissioner Chris McNair and Ms. McNair and the 
19     Collins family are here with us today. 
20               Let me say to you today what Dr. King 
21     said thirty-four years ago.  Death is not an end 
22     for these girls.  They are living still in our 
23     memory and their power still moves us. 
24               It was from this very church earlier in 
25     that same year that thousands of young people, 
 1     children really, assembled for a nonviolent 
 2     demonstration and they went to jail to protest 
 3     segregation.  The next day when more students and 
 4     adults went to demonstrate, Bull Connor let loose 
 5     his dogs, his clubs and his hoses right outside 
 6     here in Kelly Ingram Park.  We walked across that 
 7     park this morning to imagine what it was like 
 8     then and to see what it has become is a monument 
 9     to Dr. King and to the people of Birmingham who 
10     care and will not stop in their quest for 
11     liberty, for justice and in the efforts to bring 
12     this nation together. 
13               Those demonstrations broke the back of 
14     segregation in Birmingham and helped America come 
15     together.  These are there to remind us of the 
16     courage of ordinary citizens who daily met with 
17     hateful, hateful prejudice.  These are to remind 
18     us of what one person can do, young or old, 
19     student or preacher.  Each one of us can make a 
20     difference. 
21               Martin Luther King was right when he 
22     said that one day the South will recognize its 
23     real heroes.  One of those real heroes here in 
24     Birmingham was Arthur Shores who died just late 
25     last year.  As one of the only African-American 
 1     practicing attorneys in Alabama in the 1940s, Mr. 
 2     Shores was a lone voice in the wilderness 
 3     defending the civil rights of his people.  He 
 4     played a critical role during the '60s when he 
 5     represented Dr. King and Fred Shuttlesworth.  Dr. 
 6     King, Arthur Shores, so many others, children, 
 7     all are true heroes in the struggle for freedom 
 8     and for civil rights for all in this country. 
 9     They did so much to eliminate discrimination and 
10     hatred and to bring America together, but we must 
11     carry on. 
12               There is today, as we try to carry on, 
13     real disagreement about what civil rights in 
14     today's world really means.  There are some who 
15     think that we have gone too far, who think that 
16     we have already achieved the aims of the civil 
17     rights movement.  I say that's not so.  There are 
18     others who challenge the value and the fairness 
19     of the remedies of the civil rights movement. 
20     Some Americans, including some minorities, now 
21     question whether integration is still a valid 
22     goal.  I fear that what national consensus we 
23     have on civil rights may be at the risk of 
24     unravelling.  And efforts to divide us along racial 
25     lines for political advantage or worse leave many 
 1     wondering whether we'll move forward or slip 
 2     backward in our common struggle for equal 
 3     opportunity and fundamental fairness for every 
 4     single American. 
 5               I say that we will move forward.  I see 
 6     the city of Birmingham saying we will move 
 7     forward.  We will not let be undone what those 
 8     heroes in those days of the '60s worked so hard 
 9     and gave their lives and support for this 
10     nation. 
11               But as we move forward, it is not 
12     enough to dismiss every criticism as 
13     mean-spirited racism or narrow-minded ignorance. 
14     We need to examine ourselves and our world with a 
15     critical eye and an open mind.  We have to ask 
16     the difficult questions and attempt to answer 
17     them.  We must talk openly about race relations 
18     in this country.  We must talk with respect, we 
19     must listen with a listening ear, we must get rid 
20     of the angry rhetoric that has so marked this 
21     issue in so many instances of late. 
22               We know that not all our ills are 
23     explained by racism and other bias, but we also 
24     know that hate and prejudice and intolerance and 
25     discrimination still persist today and we can't 
 1     tolerate that. 
 2               Our challenge is to remind ourselves of 
 3     our common interests, our common ground and to 
 4     remind ourselves of our common dreams.  At 
 5     bottom, the needs of those in the black 
 6     community, the Hispanic community, the 
 7     Asian-American community are all the same as 
 8     those in the white community.  Everyone wants a 
 9     healthy start for their children, a stable and 
10     crime-free neighborhood, quality education, 
11     supportive families and decent work 
12     opportunities.  And remember that it was blacks 
13     and Hispanics and Asian-Americans and whites who 
14     fought so hard and some who gave their lives to 
15     defend this nation against the dark forces of 
16     tyranny as we saw in the moving ceremony this 
17     week when the seven brave solders were finally 
18     properly recognized. 
19               We must recognize and reaffirm the ties 
20     that bind us and understand that we can't solve 
21     the problems of crime, of terrorism, of disease, 
22     of poverty in isolation each from the other.  We 
23     must recognize our common humanity and by 
24     listening closely and reaching out to each other, 
25     we will find that there are ways to bring us 
 1     together even more closely to bridge the 
 2     differences that improperly separate us and to 
 3     reaffirm our commitment to civil rights in 
 4     America.  We have much to do.  For too often we 
 5     live in our insular worlds with each of us 
 6     enforcing our own voluntary racial separation. 
 7     We pass each other on the streets or in the 
 8     shopping mall, but we don't connect as 
 9     individuals.  We work together or we go to school 
10     together and we don't connect as individuals. 
11               A 1995 Washington Post poll found that 
12     virtually half of those surveyed did not feel it 
13     was important that different racial or ethnic 
14     groups should live, go to school or work together 
15     so long as they were treated fairly.  But this 
16     attitude comes dangerously close to the separate 
17     but equal doctrine that was so rightly rejected 
18     in Brown versus Board of Education.  With this 
19     separation, we risk a lack of understanding of 
20     and appreciation for the views and the 
21     perspectives of others.  We risk not learning of 
22     wonderful racial, ethnic and cultural traditions 
23     that make this country strong.  Dr. King knew 
24     that you could eliminate legal segregation and 
25     still not achieve integration.  True integration 
 1     he believed would be achieved by true neighbors. 
 2               This week especially, but in all weeks 
 3     -- my mother said you should never celebrate 
 4     Mother's Day because every day should be Mother's 
 5     Day.  But this week especially I would ask each 
 6     one of us to reach out across racial differences 
 7     to someone you work with or go to school with but 
 8     really don't know.  This weekend visit a church 
 9     or temple with a different congregation so that 
10     this Sunday morning is not, in Dr. King's word, 
11     the most segregated hour in America.  Take these 
12     small steps in our efforts to rebuild a sense of 
13     community where diversity is valued and 
14     intolerance is unacceptable.  But we must do more 
15     by reaching out to help others regardless of race 
16     or ethnic background to reweave the fabric of 
17     community around us all. 
18               Recently I spent a Saturday working for 
19     Habitat for Humanity.  By the end of the day, 
20     blacks, whites, and Cuban-Americans had paint on 
21     their face, plaster in their hair and a new 
22     spirit in their hearts.  Each of us can reach out 
23     to lend a hand, lift a spirit and bring America 
24     together. 
25               President Clinton has made it a 
 1     cornerstone of his agenda for the next term to 
 2     unify the nation around its core values.  He has 
 3     pledged to bring us together, to bring the 
 4     diverse strands of our people together and to 
 5     foster an environment of reconciliation and 
 6     mutual respect.  The part says revolution, but 
 7     the final word is reconciliation.  These values 
 8     are at the heart of civil rights and shape our 
 9     civil rights agendas for the next term. 
10               In this past year, we have seen a clear 
11     example of the challenges we still face to 
12     protect our civil rights and to eliminate hatred 
13     from this land.  The senseless rash of church 
14     burnings that have victimized and traumatized 
15     congregations and communities has stirred the 
16     national conscience.  Any sort of desecration of 
17     any place of worship is among the most despicable 
18     crimes, reaching to the most deeply felt of all 
19     American tenets, freedom of religion.  But the 
20     destruction particularly by fire of an 
21     African-American church resonates especially 
22     deeply in this country, harkening back to the 
23     bleak period when the bombing here at the 16th 
24     Street Baptist Church was one of many.  And it is 
25     for these and many more reasons that the 
 1     President has made it a top priority to prosecute 
 2     those responsible for these origins, to prevent 
 3     future damages of houses of worship and to help 
 4     communities and congregations in their efforts to 
 5     rebuild. 
 6               We have deployed over two hundred ATF 
 7     and FBI investigations around the country to 
 8     investigate these arsons.  The National Church 
 9     Arson Task Force is co-chaired by Assistant 
10     Attorney General Deval Patrick and Assistant 
11     Treasury Secretary James Johnson, and it has 
12     responded to these crimes by bringing together as 
13     partners the FBI, the ATF, Justice Department 
14     prosecutors, the United States attorneys have 
15     done such a wonderful job, the Community 
16     Relations Service, the Marshal Services in 
17     partnership with state and local law 
18     enforcement.  We are committed to expending the 
19     necessary resources, the time and the effort to 
20     solve these crimes, and we are going to keep on 
21     working on it until we bring the people 
22     responsible for these desecrations to justice. 
23               But there is a tremendous difference 
24     between the fires thirty years ago and those of 
25     today.  Church attacks then had the support of 
 1     too many people in the community.  Today the 
 2     reaction across this nation has been universal 
 3     outrage.  These attacks are rightly seen as a 
 4     threat to our common sense of sanctuary.  These 
 5     fires have also generated a tremendous response 
 6     from our community, solidarity among followers of 
 7     many faiths, donations of money, church robes, 
 8     hymnals, pews and pianos, countless volunteers to 
 9     help in rebuilding and preventing further 
10     tragedy. 
11               It is a wonderful experience to hear a 
12     young teenager talk with pride of her trip to the 
13     South to help rebuild one of the churches 
14     attacked and to hear her talk of the welcome that 
15     she was given by that community. 
16               This past year I traveled down a little 
17     old dirt road in South Carolina with the 
18     President to see the site of a church that was 
19     burned, only a magnificent oak tree which had 
20     half covered the church still stood.  But then we 
21     went further down that road to dedicate the new 
22     church.  The people of that community, black and 
23     white, came together to speak out against the 
24     hatred that had spawned that fire.  Haters are 
25     cowards.  When they are confronted, they will 
 1     often back down.  It is so important for all 
 2     America to speak with one voice and consistently 
 3     against the hate and the bigotry that is 
 4     sometimes in our midst. 
 5               And there is a common thread through 
 6     this nation.  As I turned and walked off the 
 7     platform after the church dedication, a woman 
 8     burst through the lines and came up and gave me a 
 9     big hug and said, "Hello, Janet.  I used to live 
10     in Miami.  You got me child support.  And I want 
11     you to see the two young men you got child 
12     support for.  And they are taller than me." 
13               Our experience with church fires shows 
14     us at the very same time how much we have 
15     achieved and yet how much, much more we have to 
16     do.  Yes, we have seen remarkable progress in our 
17     efforts to bridge the gap between our ideals and 
18     the harsh reality of the daily experience of many 
19     citizens.  Our national journey has taken us from 
20     segregated classrooms to integrated ones, from 
21     Jim Crow laws to civil rights laws for women, 
22     minorities and persons with disabilities, from 
23     literacy tests for voting to minority 
24     representation here in Alabama at every level of 
25     government, including the mayor of Birmingham and 
 1     Congressman Hilliard in the Alabama Congressional 
 2     Delegation.  And the political inclusion that has 
 3     been brought about by the Voting Rights Act has 
 4     led to so much in our progress. 
 5               Just today the federal government is 
 6     announcing additional resources to preserve the 
 7     historic Selma-to-Montgomery trail that Dr. King 
 8     and others marched along to dramatize the need 
 9     for the Voting Rights Act. 
10               We have come a long way, but thirty 
11     years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act 
12     and forty years after Brown versus Board of 
13     Education, racial prejudice and the corrosive 
14     effects of discrimination are still with us. 
15               We cannot say that we have completed 
16     our journey when even today blacks and Hispanics 
17     and in many cases women still have a harder time 
18     of getting into college, renting an apartment, 
19     getting a job or obtaining a loan. 
20               We have not completed our journey when 
21     the unemployment rate for black males is still 
22     twice as high as it is for white males.  Even 
23     college-educated black, Hispanic, Asian-American 
24     men and women of every race and ethnic background 
25     are paid less than comparably educated, 
 1     comparably trained white men.  That's not right. 
 2               These problems are doubly difficult for 
 3     black and Hispanic men and women who also have 
 4     disabilities.  Worst of all, reports of violent 
 5     hate crimes against minorities and gays and 
 6     lesbians are disturbingly high.  If some of the 
 7     church fires are any indication, hate itself has 
 8     become more brazen. 
 9               We have changed our laws, but we have 
10     not always changed our ways.  Old habits die 
11     hard.  Attitudes evolve slowly.  We must do more, 
12     much more to open the doors of opportunity so 
13     that every American can share in and fully 
14     contribute to America's magnificent bounty. 
15               The Department of Justice is committed 
16     to our mission which is, simply stated, to 
17     enforce the civil rights laws of this nation as 
18     vigorously and as faithfully as possible without 
19     fear or favor.  I care so deeply about this 
20     mission which is one of the highest priorities of 
21     the Department of Justice.  I'm one of the most 
22     fortunate people in the world in this last term 
23     to have Deval Patrick as the Assistant Attorney 
24     General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. 
25     He is one of the finest people I have ever known 
 1     and one of the great public servants I have ever 
 2     had the opportunity to work with. 
 3               He will be leaving at the end of this 
 4     month to return to Boston to be with his family, 
 5     and I think this nation, and I know I will, will 
 6     miss his leadership, his vision, his intelligence 
 7     and his courage. 
 8               The Division, the Civil Rights 
 9     Division, had a reception for him yesterday and 
10     they promised him that they would not let our 
11     efforts to enforce the civil rights laws of this 
12     country be diminished in any way.  And I think 
13     that's going to be their ultimate tribute to 
14     Deval Patrick. 
15               We will be ever vigilant and ever 
16     forceful in bringing our cases, and I would like 
17     to highlight four areas which reflect our 
18     commitment to combating discrimination and to 
19     building trust and understanding among all 
20     Americans. 
21               First is fair housing and fair lending, 
22     including business lending.  Second is employment 
23     and affirmative action.  Third is education.  And 
24     fourth is the building of trust between law 
25     enforcement and the minority community. 
 1               In the next four years, I want to 
 2     expand on our success in the area of fair lending 
 3     and fair housing.  Home ownership has profound 
 4     significance in this country, and it is still at 
 5     the center of the American dream.  Yet many 
 6     Americans are kept from that dream when they 
 7     can't get a home mortgage and when they are 
 8     denied home mortgages or property insurance on 
 9     account of their race or national origin. 
10               For years, disparities were explained 
11     in the industry as being justified solely by 
12     differences in creditworthiness.  But the studies 
13     over the last several years have too often proved 
14     that explanation is flat and simply wrong. 
15               Black and Hispanic applicants for loans 
16     are being denied financing at a much greater rate 
17     than white applicants with virtually identical 
18     qualifications.  Some banks have simply not done 
19     business in minority neighborhoods, while others 
20     charge higher rates or add extra charges to their 
21     loans in minority areas. 
22               We have used a two-prong approach to 
23     address this problem.  First we have worked with 
24     the banking industry that wants to do right to 
25     reform their practices, and, secondly, for those 
 1     who thumbed their noses, we have sued them and we 
 2     are going to do whatever is necessary. 
 3               We are not asking banks to make bad 
 4     loans.  We are telling them that there is some 
 5     business there that's good business that should 
 6     not have been rejected on the grounds of race or 
 7     national origin.  And we are working with them to 
 8     train their employees in practices and procedures 
 9     that ensure that there is no discrimination.  The 
10     results of these efforts have been remarkable in 
11     a very short period of time. 
12               In part due to what we have done and 
13     due in part to other factors, we have expanded 
14     the availability of loans to minorities.  Between 
15     1992 and 1995, the numbers of home loans to 
16     minorities grew more than one hundred percent, 
17     twice the growth rate for home loans generally. 
18     Here in Alabama, the number of home loans to 
19     minority borrowers increased one hundred and 
20     twenty-two percent from 1992 to 1995, nearly 
21     three times the increase in lending to borrowers 
22     in the Alabama market as a whole. 
23               We are also increasing our fair housing 
24     activity in Alabama and around the nation.  The 
25     Civil Rights Division sent fair housing testers 
 1     to Montgomery.  Last summer we filed a record- 
 2     setting one point eight million dollar settlement 
 3     for housing discrimination against the owner of a 
 4     number of apartment complexes in Mobile.  We also 
 5     work closely with fair housing groups that 
 6     recently have been established in Birmingham and 
 7     Montgomery.  This type of work is taking place 
 8     across the country.  We will continue to try to 
 9     eliminate discrimination in the housing and 
10     lending market so that all Americans can pursue 
11     their dream of home ownership. 
12               I want to expand our fair lending work 
13     into the area of business lending.  Access to 
14     capital is one of the most formidable barriers to 
15     the formation and development of minority 
16     businesses.  Several studies have shown that 
17     minority applicants for business loans are more 
18     likely to be rejected, and when accepted, receive 
19     smaller loan amounts than white applicants with 
20     identical borrowing credentials.  One recent 
21     Colorado study found that African-Americans were 
22     three times more likely to be rejected for 
23     business loans than whites, and that Hispanic 
24     owners were one and a half times more likely to 
25     be denied a business loan.  That's not right, and 
 1     the Department of Justice is exploring ways that 
 2     we can effectively confront discrimination in 
 3     this arena. 
 4               In the next four years we will oppose 
 5     efforts to limit our ability as a society to 
 6     address unequal opportunity in the economy.  We 
 7     must do more to tap the inherent potential in 
 8     every one of our citizens.  For far too many, the 
 9     promise of economic opportunity has a very hollow 
10     ring.  All too often we learn of blatant 
11     discriminatory conduct in the employment context, 
12     discrimination based on race, gender or sexual 
13     orientation.  But also there are more subtle 
14     influences of subjective factors making it more 
15     likely that we will hire and promote others like 
16     us with whom we may feel more comfortable. 
17     Social ties are often more important than actual 
18     experience and qualifications. 
19               Some of the starkest evidence of this 
20     type of behavior comes from testing studies where 
21     white males receive fifty percent more job offers 
22     than minorities with the same qualifications 
23     applying for the same job.  And the report of the 
24     Glass Ceiling Commission demonstrates that once 
25     minorities are in the workplace, their 
 1     advancement is often hampered by discrimination. 
 2               The EEOC is the prime federal agency 
 3     that sues over employment discrimination in the 
 4     private sector.  The Justice Department has 
 5     responsibility over discrimination by public 
 6     employers.  But it is important to have a clear 
 7     picture of discrimination in the workplace so 
 8     that it can be addressed by the government as a 
 9     whole. 
10               The reality of current and ongoing 
11     discrimination was at the very heart of the 
12     President's decision to continue to support 
13     affirmative action. 
14               In July of 1995, the President made 
15     clear that as a nation, we will not abandon our 
16     commitment to equal opportunity.  But he also 
17     made clear that we need to refine the tool of 
18     affirmative action so that it can be used fairly 
19     and effectively to help our society achieve its 
20     goal of integration and the elimination of 
21     discrimination.  He said that we needed to mend, 
22     not end, affirmative action. 
23               At the same time, the Supreme Court 
24     ruled in the Adarand case that when the federal 
25     government uses affirmative action, it has to do 
 1     so in an especially careful way.  But in writing 
 2     for the court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor 
 3     recognized the unhappy persistence of both the 
 4     practice and the lingering effects of racial 
 5     discrimination against minority groups.  She 
 6     confirmed that under the constitution, government 
 7     has an obligation to address it and we will not 
 8     shirk from that obligation. 
 9               This is one reason why we think 
10     California's Proposition 209, which establishes a 
11     sweeping ban on affirmative action in the state, 
12     is both unconstitutional and bad policy.  It 
13     would prevent local jurisdictions and state 
14     agencies from recognizing the need for 
15     additional, well-fashioned affirmative action 
16     measures to overcome the effects of past 
17     discrimination and bring minorities into the 
18     economic mainstream.  It would prevent victims of 
19     racial discrimination and gender discrimination 
20     from obtaining relief from local governments and 
21     state agencies short of amending the state 
22     constitution. 
23               By singling out race and gender for 
24     this distortion of the ordinary political 
25     process, Proposition 209 denies equal protection 
 1     of the laws.  A federal judge just enjoined the 
 2     state from implementing the California 
 3     initiative.  We agree with the court, and the 
 4     Department of Justice will defend that decision. 
 5               It is also why efforts in Congress to 
 6     curtail affirmative action by the federal 
 7     government are misguided and counterproductive 
 8     towards our efforts of bringing this nation 
 9     together and ensuring liberty and equality for 
10     all. 
11               The Justice Department in light of the 
12     Adarand decision is already making certain that 
13     federal government programs now in place are fair 
14     and flexible and meet the constitutional standard 
15     described by Justice O'Connor.  And the President 
16     and I will continue to oppose at every step of 
17     the way any wholesale ban on affirmative action 
18     in federal law. 
19               I recognize that there are those who 
20     believe that affirmative action is unfair.  They 
21     feel that they are being forced to pay for 
22     others' past sins and that affirmative action 
23     gives special preferences to minority groups and 
24     women.  However, the fact that many minorities 
25     and women are still struggling at the bottom of 
 1     the economic ladder suggests that this criticism 
 2     misses the mark.  Society's reality belies all 
 3     the purported special treatment for minorities. 
 4     Concerns about affirmative action must be 
 5     addressed, but all too often these concerns are 
 6     based on misperceptions about what the programs 
 7     are all about.  The abuses can and will be 
 8     fixed.  But when affirmative action is done 
 9     right, there are no quotas, there are no 
10     preferences for the unqualified, and the programs 
11     end when the objectives have been achieved.  When 
12     affirmative action is done right, it ensures 
13     equal opportunity.  When affirmative action is 
14     done right, it corrects for the effects of both 
15     past and continuing discrimination.  And when 
16     affirmative action is done right, it is an 
17     important tool in reaching our goal of an America 
18     coming together.  Because of our efforts to 
19     eliminate discrimination and provide equal 
20     opportunity to all, our nation's workplaces are 
21     much more diverse than they ever were and our 
22     nation's economy is stronger for the effort. 
23               Of course, equal opportunity in the 
24     economic sphere can only be achieved if our 
25     citizens are prepared to take advantage of these 
 1     opportunities.  In the next four years, the civil 
 2     rights agenda must also include ensuring that 
 3     educational institutions are equally accessible 
 4     to women and to minorities. 
 5               As a nation, we have made great strides 
 6     in broadening opportunities in higher education. 
 7     Just since 1990, the numbers of Hispanics 
 8     enrolled in colleges and universities has 
 9     increased by thirty-five percent, Asian-Americans 
10     by thirty-five percent; and since 1990, 
11     African-Americans' enrollment in higher education 
12     has increased by sixteen percent.  The number of 
13     minorities graduating from colleges and 
14     universities is also rising, and that benefits 
15     all America for that fuels the economy, provides 
16     the people with skills who can run this engine 
17     that fuels the economy that maintains this nation 
18     as a great nation. 
19               Greater integration has meant a better 
20     education for all of the students involved. 
21     Education depends on dialogue, not just between 
22     students and teacher, but between the student and 
23     his or her classmates.  For over twenty years, 
24     our laws have recognized the important value of 
25     diversity in education. 
 1               Last year, however, a federal appeals 
 2     court in Texas ruled that this is no longer good 
 3     law.  This is the Hopwood case which ruled that 
 4     diversity did not justify affirmative action in 
 5     education.  We disagree strongly with that 
 6     decision.  The Supreme Court declined to take the 
 7     case on procedure grounds, so the issue is still 
 8     an open one.  We continue to believe that if the 
 9     setting in which the students learn looks more 
10     like the world, their education will be better 
11     and stronger and prepare them better for the 
12     future. 
13               It may also be useful to ask, what do 
14     we mean when we say someone is qualified or more 
15     qualified for admission to college or to graduate 
16     school.  We are making judgments about people 
17     before they have really had a chance to do 
18     anything.  Education is the first rung on the 
19     ladder of opportunity.  Getting an education is 
20     how you get ahead.  And I just don't think it 
21     makes sense to deny that chance to someone based 
22     solely on a one size fits all test.  You have to 
23     look, not just at test scores, but at what that 
24     individual will bring to that school and to that 
25     community and to this nation and you have to look 
 1     at what the benefits of integration will bring to 
 2     society as a whole. 
 3               Let me give you just one example of a 
 4     broader view of merit and the benefits of 
 5     diversity.  A study of University of California 
 6     Medical School graduates examined where doctors 
 7     practiced after graduation.  A much higher 
 8     percentage of minority graduates than white 
 9     graduates practiced in areas that were 
10     underserved by the medical profession.  Because 
11     that medical school is diverse, California has 
12     better medical care. 
13               Abraham Lincoln said that a house 
14     divided cannot stand and that a nation divided 
15     cannot stand.  I believe so strongly that we 
16     cannot have a divided nation, one exposed to 
17     education and the other not.  We have to do more 
18     so that every student has access to education. 
19     Because that young man who is the first in his 
20     family to go to college will likely become a 
21     father, and his son or daughter and this nation 
22     will be the beneficiaries. 
23               We must also reemphasize quality in 
24     education as well as racial integration as goals 
25     of the post-Brown struggle.  A place in an 
 1     integrated classroom is worth having only if it 
 2     provides our children with a true opportunity to 
 3     learn.  We have to do more to address the 
 4     inequality among the schools in our communities 
 5     for it is unfortunately true that because of 
 6     economic inequality, many predominantly minority 
 7     schools tend to receive much inferior resources 
 8     than those received by predominantly white 
 9     schools.  We need to find ways to develop and to 
10     finance city school systems that will keep 
11     families, both black and white, in the public 
12     school and give them an education that will help 
13     them meet the challenges of this next exciting 
14     century of the information age. 
15               These are daunting challenges.  But if 
16     forty years ago those children and their parents 
17     in Topeka, Kansas and in Little Rock, Arkansas 
18     and Clarendon County, South Carolina had the 
19     strength and the courage to face down an 
20     intractable establishment, hell bent on 
21     segregation, then I am not ready to say that 
22     today's challenges are beyond our grasp, and I 
23     don't think America is either. 
24               Another crucial item on the agenda for 
25     the next four years is an effort to build a 
 1     greater sense of community and trust between law 
 2     enforcement and the minority community.  There is 
 3     no other area where the potential for 
 4     misunderstanding and miscommunication can have 
 5     such dangerous consequences.  Just in the past 
 6     year, we have seen in St. Petersburg the danger 
 7     of pent-up frustrations and a breakdown in 
 8     community relations.  And yet, at the same time, 
 9     we must recognize that minorities are 
10     disproportionately victims of crime.  Nothing is 
11     more important than a safe environment.  The 
12     quality of the school a child attends will matter 
13     less if she is not safe in getting there or while 
14     she is at school.  So it is an absolute 
15     imperative that we establish better trust, 
16     cooperation and communication between the 
17     community and the police. 
18               There are several ways we can set about 
19     doing that.  First, through community policing, 
20     we bring law enforcement to the neighborhood 
21     level.  We have police officers who are committed 
22     to serve the community, who reach out to the 
23     neighbors, who involve them in identifying the 
24     problems in the community and establishing 
25     priorities and in working together to achieve 
 1     solutions.  That police officer, rather than 
 2     creating division, reaches out to build trust. 
 3     He becomes the mentor.  The elderly woman who 
 4     would not walk out from behind her door because 
 5     she is afraid now walks down to the community 
 6     center to tell people what she thinks should be 
 7     done, and we see communities coming together when 
 8     community police reach out in thoughtfulness and 
 9     respect and involve the people of this country in 
10     building security for us all. 
11               Second we must continue to encourage 
12     diversity and understanding in all law 
13     enforcement.  In years past, too many police 
14     departments had no black or Hispanic officers, 
15     few had women officers.  Now we have not just men 
16     in blue, but women in blue.  Not just whites, but 
17     people of all colors.  People who patrol the 
18     neighborhoods they grew up in, people who know 
19     the languages spoken there, men and women our 
20     youth can look up to as role models.  And these 
21     police officers are teaching each other how to 
22     value and to appreciate the diversity and the 
23     wonder of the tradition of the neighbors they 
24     serve. 
25               Third, we must continue our vigorous 
 1     enforcement of civil rights laws.  This must be 
 2     combined with additional effective training 
 3     efforts. 
 4               There are approximately six hundred 
 5     ninety thousand law enforcement officers in this 
 6     country.  The vast majority are honest, hard 
 7     working and law abiding.  They put their lives on 
 8     the line every day for us in the pursuit of 
 9     justice.  Yet police chiefs and rank and file 
10     officers alike tell me to maintain the confidence 
11     in the community, we must take decisive action 
12     against those few officers who abuse their power 
13     and deny citizens their constitutional rights by 
14     use of excessive force or harassment.  The 
15     Department of Justice plays a crucial role here 
16     through the use of civil rights prosecutions and 
17     criminal sanctions, and we will use our criminal 
18     and civil authority when the evidence and when 
19     the law justifies it and we will pursue each 
20     allegation.  But at the same time we are working 
21     with law enforcement agencies in training 
22     programs that teach officers how to better serve 
23     their community, how to involve the community and 
24     how to make a difference. 
25               So we have come a long way since Dr. 
 1     King reached into the soul of America, challenged 
 2     its conscience and brought us together as never 
 3     before.  But at the same time, hate, 
 4     discrimination and intolerance still raised their 
 5     heads and efforts to divide us rise up. 
 6               We must today and every day rededicate 
 7     ourselves to meeting Dr. King's challenge, his 
 8     challenge to our conscience to seek freedom, 
 9     liberty and justice for all, to come together as 
10     one nation while cherishing the racial and ethnic 
11     traditions and cultures that make this nation so 
12     wonderfully and so magnificently diverse.  To 
13     some it is tempting in an uncertain and rapidly 
14     changing world in economy to turn inward to 
15     protect what they have and to let others fend for 
16     themselves.  Others just throw up their hands and 
17     say I'm just one person, I can't make a 
18     difference.  But Americans throughout this nation 
19     are making a difference as they reach out.  Here 
20     in Birmingham this morning you can feel the 
21     excitement as people look on your city, a tiny 
22     new city rising around the park.  They took at 
23     their history and build on the history to make 
24     sure that what happened in 1963 will never happen 
25     again.  They are coming together to give children 
 1     a future, to bring people out from behind closed 
 2     doors, to involve America in the process of 
 3     community and to provide the glue that brings us 
 4     together. 
 5               In Dorchester, Massachusetts, I stand 
 6     with religious leaders and young African-American 
 7     students and white police officers as they have 
 8     joined together to significantly reduce the 
 9     incidence of youth violence in that community. 
10               Now some of you may say but I'm too 
11     old, I can't make a difference.  Remember the 
12     eighty-four-year-old man who once stood up in a 
13     meeting and said do you know how old I am and 
14     what I do three mornings a week?  I'm eighty-four 
15     and I volunteer as a teacher's aide.  And the 
16     young woman next to him stood up and said I'm the 
17     first grade teacher for whom he volunteers.  And 
18     the children with learning disability can't wait 
19     for their time with him because he has the 
20     patience of Job and those who are gifted can't 
21     wait for their time with him because he 
22     challenges them far beyond what I can with the 
23     number in my class. 
24               Come with me to dispute resolution 
25     programs in Washington, D. C. public schools 
 1     where white and black students are learning to 
 2     live together where they're working together to 
 3     resolve the disputes without knives and guns and 
 4     fists.  Come with me across this country and you 
 5     will see so much of America coming together and 
 6     reaching out and making a difference in making 
 7     this a more peaceful nation that is together. 
 8     Take part and take hope. 
 9               But remember the children of 
10     Birmingham, remember those four girls, and let us 
11     focus for this next time on the children of 
12     America, the right to a mortgage, the right to 
13     equal opportunity for a home.  Equal opportunity 
14     for an education won't mean very much if that 
15     young person does not live to seize that 
16     opportunity.  Let us come together as one nation 
17     to say that we will stop youth violence in this 
18     nation.  We will stop youth killing.  We will 
19     work together to give them their foundation in 
20     which they can grow as strong, constructive human 
21     beings.  This nation is coming together to do 
22     that. 
23               You can hear Dr. King telling us we're 
24     not moving fast enough.  Let us walk out of here 
25     today and think of what each one of us can do to 
 1     make a difference in the lives of all Americans 
 2     and in the name of the children who walked out 
 3     the door of this church or the children who died 
 4     here, let us give all American children a future 
 5     of peace, of liberty, of freedom, and of justice 
 6     for all. 
 8                  END OF SPEECH 
10               I, Eleanor S. Pickett, the officer 
11     before whom the foregoing speech was taken, do 
12     hereby certify that the foregoing speech was 
13     taken by me to the best of my ability and 
14     thereafter reduced to typewriting under my 
15     direction. 
18                         Notary Public in and for 
19                         the State of Alabama 
23     My commission expires:  April 1997 

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