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Today Senator Murray attended a day of service at the UW in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Senator Murray's remarks follow:

Thank you, John, Mayor Nickels and President Emmert.

Good morning everyone, I know there are a lot of things you could been doing today, but you decided to get up early and volunteer your day, and I want to say thank you.

This is a tough time for many people – in our own community and around the world – from the War in Iraq and the tsunami, to the flooding and mudslides we’ve seen in the U.S. It’s easy to look at all that and say – Not my problem. I’m only responsible for myself. But you’re reaching beyond yourselves and helping our community – and that’s the type of energy that can change the world.

As some of you know, in November 1961, Dr. King came to Seattle and spoke here at the UW in the old Meany Hall. He spoke to some 2,000 students, and they gave him a standing ovation.

I don’t have a transcript of his remarks, but he often told students that the blueprint of your life should have two things - “a deep belief in your own dignity” and “the determination to achieve excellence.”

He said that no matter what job you have, you should do it so well that everyone sits up and takes notice. He said that if you are a street sweeper, you should, “sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures” or like Beethoven composed music.

Today some of you will be sweeping. Others will be planting and painting. Whatever you do, do it with the spirit of excellence that Dr. King spoke of. And finally, do your work today knowing that in every part of America people are doing similar things to honor Dr. King. Taken together, all those individual acts can have a major impact.

As Robert Kennedy once said:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other - from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

So today, whether you lift a hammer, a broom or a shovel, send forth your ripple of hope. With all those ripples, we can create the world of respect, dignity and opportunity that filled Dr. King’s dreams of the future.