Statement by Secretary Vilsack on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
15 January 2022, Washington: “As we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are reminded of the profound impact of answering the call to serve others and in striving to do right by upholding the values of equity, justice, and inclusion.
“At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are steadfast in our commitment to face a history of injustice and inequity that continues to impact generations of Americans, right the wrongs of our shared past, while building a more prosperous and more equitable future for all. This work is work for a lifetime, and we dedicate ourselves to identifying barriers, deploying resources, and creating new ways to better support and better address the needs of historically underserved populations. Everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed and prosper, and as one of the largest Federal agencies with a footprint that spans across all aspects of agriculture, we have a responsibility to do our part. It begins with trust.
“Further, we envision a country rid of deep injustices and continue to work towards achieving this vision as we carry out the priorities of the Department. We see a country where every American has access to affordable and nutritious foods, where every American has a healthy living environment, and where communities that have experienced persistent generational poverty are treated equitably. As Dr. King once said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
“Finally, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are committed to reflecting inward and acting on lessons learned from our past. We take seriously our role as public servants with tens of thousands of employees eager and dedicated to making a fundamental difference by providing crucial services to underserved Americans. This sentiment is echoed in our effort to build a more diverse workforce that is more representative of the very people we serve, and to ensure at all levels an inclusive Department, where everyone is welcomed, supported, and valued.
“On this day, let’s celebrate and reflect on the importance of community, compassion, empathy, and hope, and further dedicate ourselves to advancing our values and the country we strive to be.”
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