Marching for MLK’s dream
WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall today, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King’s famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled.
The event was an homage to a generation of activists that endured fire hoses, police abuse and indignities to demand equality for African Americans. But there was a strong theme of unfinished business.
“This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration,” said Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the slain civil rights leader. “Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more.”
Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said he would not be in office, nor would Barack Obama be president, without those who marched.
“They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept,” Holder said.
Holder mentioned gays and Latinos, women and the disabled as those who had yet to fully realize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. Others in the crowd advocated organized labour, voting rights, revamping immigration policies and access to local post offices.
Organizers expected about 100 000 people to participate in the event, the precursor to the actual anniversary of the August 28, 1963, march that drew 250 000 to the National Mall and ushered in the idea of massive, non-violent demonstrations. (AP)