Yesterday, in the John F. Kennedy Memorial White House Ballroom, President Barack Obama signed a bill, proposed by Representative DeMarcus Johnson of Georgia, creating ‘Rodney King Day’, and making it a federal holiday. The new holiday will be recognized annually on April thirty-first, starting next year in 2015.
In the United States, a federal holiday is an authorized holiday which has been recognized by the government. On Rodney King Day, non-essential federal government offices will be closed, including the post offices and the federal reserve, and every federal employee will be paid for the holiday. Private-sector employees required to work on the holiday shall receive holiday pay in addition to their ordinary wages, according to the bill.
Democratic Representative DeMarcus Johnson of Georgia, who proposed the bill, says that it is very important for the American republic to celebrate the awareness of social unity during times of public adversity.
“As you may very well know, Rodney King, after being brutally beaten by the Los Angeles police officers was made a national hero when he uttered the powerful quote for which he will always be remembered, ‘Can’t we all just get along?'” said Johnson. “Mr. King cried out to the American public during the infamous L.A. Riots, and later suffered through a trial where his abusers were found to be innocent. As good Americans, it is our ultimate responsibility to make it a point to remember these great words from such a heroic and wise man, whose justice was never properly served.”
President Obama says the now famous words of Rodney King offered America a great deal of hope while setting the standard for change.
“Hope, change. These ideas are a product given to use by the great Rodney King. Mr. King made a remarkable difference – not only in this great country of hard-working God-fearing citizens – but the world as a whole continues to feel the remnants of peace, hope, love, and the overall importance of unified change,” said Obama. “It is my honor to sign this extraordinary bill. As I stand before a better America today, it is with pride and utmost appreciation that I say, on the behalf of the great American people, thank you Rodney King. Thank you very much.”