On Monday, America will take time to honor the life and legacy of one of this nation’s greatest leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It cannot be denied that ending the brutality of racial injustice was one of the most significant challenges facing America in the twentieth century. With the dedication and leadership of Dr. King and his legacy, this nation was able to overcome many of the obstacles created by inequality and bias. We have come a long way, but there this a long way yet to go in this journey.

Dr. King knew all too well that if the nation was to truly move forward as one, racial justice must coincide with economic justice. As the Ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, it is my responsibility to encourage economic growth and business development for all those who have been underserved or have felt the sting of past and present discrimination.

I have long argued that there is a compelling interest for the Federal government to create opportunities for business and economic development in all communities throughout this nation. It is appropriate for the Federal government to lead the efforts to break down the walls of discrimination and the barriers to equal opportunity, in order to give all people a chance to share in the full promise of the American dream.

We are all aware of the proverb: “You give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. You teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” This same wisdom can be applied to employment, business growth and ownership throughout the nation. I am dedicated to ensuring that education, training, and business opportunities exist for all Americans to become successful entrepreneurs. To ensure that all communities, regardless of demographics or socioeconomic status are afforded the highest opportunity to own their own businesses and to write their own futures.

The legacy of Dr. King is the unyielding hope of a future that does not include racial bias. A future that honors the words of our forefathers that “all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights.” This hope, however, is not a passive desire for a better future. It is only through continued diligence that we can achieve Dr. King’s dream. Frederick Douglas said “without struggle, there can be no progress.” I vow to honor Dr. King by remaining diligent in this struggle and remain committed to creating opportunities for economic growth and entrepreneurship for all Americans.