Today marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The historic movement is best remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which eloquently verbalized the vision of a nation free from discrimination and inequality:
“I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”
Today, we honor the memory of a great leader and visionary; we celebrate the spirit of the historic movement, and we embrace the possibility of a better, more equal tomorrow. Fifty years later, it is true that, as a nation, we have become more tolerant of one another’s differences and more conscious of the experiences that these differences bring. The election of an African American President, the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the SCOTUS decision on DOMA, and the brink of immigration reform are examples of this progress. Fifty years later, however, it remains true that we still have much more work to do before “the dream” that Dr. King described is fully realized; a dream in which senseless gun violence or lack of health care don’t threaten the valuable life of every American.
We should all use today to reflect on the meaning of the March and use the lessons from this historic moment as a catalyst to start living the change we wish to see. Fifty years later, we say “Happy Anniversary to all who have been inspired by the March on Washington.”
To access Dr. King’s full speech, click here.