Your Excellency, distinguished guests, good evening ladies and gentlemen.
I am honored to speak with you tonight, in representation of Ambassador McCarthy who would have liked to be here and sends you his greetings.
I understand that there are a number of Californians in the house. I am a native Californian. Could you please identify yourselves.
One of tonight’s themes is the Bicentennial Year, an anniversary that is close to my heart and the hearts of the many Liberians and Americans both in the audience and across the world. Two-hundred years since the landing of free African Americans to the shores of what would become Africa’s first independent republic— filled with the hope and determination to forge a brighter future for all.
Liberians, allow me to wish you an early happy 175th anniversary of your independence.
Tonight, we honor Liberians who also represent that same hope and determination— to create a brighter future towards what the United States fondly and frankly describes as a “more perfect union.”
That phrase “a more perfect union,” written in the preamble of the American constitution realistically recognizes the fact that though we may not always be the image of perfection that we strive for, as a nation and as individuals– we cannot let that paralyze our collective strive towards progress.
Guided by leaders in attendance tonight such as His Excellency, President George Manneh Weah, but also by Her Excellency, Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s history, trajectory, and impassioned citizens exemplify that struggle towards a “more perfect union.”
As I reflect on my one year mark in Liberia, I’ve found that the distinct sense of unity not only between the governments, but the people of our two nations is the quintessential essence of the American-Liberian bilateral relationship, especially during this Bicentennial Year.
I would like to thank Cultural Ambassador Juli Endee and the Liberian Crusaders for Peace for continuously highlighting the hard work and noteworthy achievements of Liberians who have contributed a brighter future for the people of this beautiful country. I look forward to witnessing more of their incredible work in action in the coming years.
And a big thank you to Mayor Koijee, our host tonight, for welcoming us all here and for striving every day to make the City of Monrovia more livable and more vibrant.
Let us now enjoy what will certainly be a wonderful evening!