Mr. Ximenes and his family, Senators Anderson and Montoya, Members of the Congress, Members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
We have come here today to honor Vicente T. Ximenes.
But we have come here also to reaffirm an ideal that I think all of those present in this room share: the ideal of full opportunity for every citizen in the United States of America.
Mr. Ximenes' life is a very vivid story of what we call American opportunity. He is a distinguished public servant, a teacher, a war hero, a leader of the Mexican-American community. Today, he achieves another high honor as he becomes a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States Government. And we--as a Nation--are honored by his achievement.
As President, I want to see his story repeated-again and again and again.
Because the promise of America is still unfulfilled for too many Americans among us.
Millions of Americans still are poor. They are without training. They are without jobs. They are without hope.
It is our responsibility as public servants and it is our job as public leaders to correct that, to change that, and to get results.
Mr. Ximenes and I are both graduates of the first antipoverty program in Texas in the 1930's. He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps and I was a member of the NYA. Both of those have since gone out of existence, but the need for the kind of training they gave is still here.
Before that, I taught school in the little town of Cotulla in south Texas. It was there in that school, at an early age, that my dream began of an America--my own land--where race, religion, language, and color didn't count against you.
And I made a decision then which I have reaffirmed every day since I have been in the White House--that if ever I had the privilege of holding public office, I would not rest:
--until every American, who wanted it, had a job to work at;
--until every child, who wanted it, had an opportunity to get all the education his mind could take;
--until every family had an opportunity to get a decent home in a decent neighborhood;
--until every single American had entered the open door to full participation in the life of America.
That is what we have been working for in the past 3 1/2 years. That is what they refer to as the "Great Society." It is not great yet, but it has improved a lot in 3 1/2 years--and it is going to improve a lot more, in whatever time we are allotted.
Some of our cynics will criticize us and some of our opposition will complain, but the record of these years in education, in jobs, in health, in civil rights, and in poverty marks more than just a proud beginning.
Today, our effort in the field of education is three times what it was 3 years ago.
The budget this year has a little over $12 billion for education. Three years ago it had a little over $4 billion. Three times the effort in education that we had only 3 years ago.
Twelve billion dollars for education. That is twice as much money as Herbert Hoover had for the entire Federal budget when I came to Washington.
In health--we must have sound bodies, if we are to have our minds take that education. We were spending a little over $4 billion for health 3 years ago. The budget this year is over $12 billion. Three times as much for the human body--everybody's body-not just the rich man's body, or the poor man's body, the brown man's body, the white man's body, the black man's body. Three times as much for health as we were spending 3 years ago.
In civil rights we have passed three civil rights bills that have made gradual progress, moving along the road until the day where the "emancipation" will no longer be a "proclamation," but will actually be a fact.
Today, I am releasing a special Cabinet report which tells the story of new opportunities that have been created for more than 5 million Mexican-American citizens.
It shows how far government, business, labor, and community leadership still must go to turn the slogan of opportunity into the fact of reality.
Real opportunity--for all Americans-must grow out of the work of selfless public servants who are, really, to take the risk at all levels.
Real opportunity must grow out of a business community that is ready to use America's resources to create jobs for willing hands and minds.
I am going to establish today the highest level committee a President can create, a Cabinet committee on Mexican-Americans. It will be composed of Secretary Wirtz, Secretary Gardner, Secretary Freeman, Secretary Weaver, and Director Shriver of the Office of Economic Opportunity.
And the President and the Vice President will be around to serve ex officio, when they can be helpful.
Right here, now, I am going to sign an order creating that committee--and I am going to ask Mr. Vicente T. Ximenes to serve as the chairman of that committee.
I am saying to Mr. Ximenes, and to the Cabinet members who are on that committee, that I will expect from you not just reports, but I want some solutions. I may get too many of the former--but never too many of the latter.
Mr. Ximenes, we welcome you to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We believe that you will add a new image and new vitality to its fine work.
We value the historic tradition that you represent.
The State of New Mexico has sent many great men to Washington in the Senate and the House of Representatives, in the Cabinet, and at many levels. They will be looking to you with admiration and with pride. I am sure they will not be disappointed.
So we today affirm this truth: that what we do for any minority, we do as well for the majority. After all, we do all of this for America.
Thank you very much.