Speech by King Willem-Alexander at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, United States

The Queen and I feel privileged to be here today to honour Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement he led.

We have enormous respect for Dr. King and for all those men and women who came after him, profoundly influencing the course of American history.

It was here in Atlanta that the struggle for equal rights first took flight. A struggle waged without violence, championed by a man who had faith in the power of his words and the fundamental values he believed in: freedom, equality and social justice.

Today’s visit is a deeply moving experience for us both. We look forward to speaking with members of the local community shortly, and hearing their stories. Dr. King’s work continues to inspire courage in people today, 56 years after his death.
The drive for emancipation among people of colour has made a vivid mark on the history of the United States. It is a story of pain and anger, but also one of pride, solidarity and a steadfast belief in peace and reconciliation.

In the Netherlands, too, the fight against discrimination and racism continues to command our full attention. Martin Luther King inspires us never to give up. His voice continues to resonate, even across the Atlantic Ocean.

Dreams can become reality if we can see each other as brothers and sisters, regardless of our skin colour and background. That is a conviction we will continue to cherish.

Thank you.