High Points of Remarks from 50th Anniversary March of Washington

High Points of Remarks from 50th Anniversary March of Washington

Saturday, August 24, 2013

There were, fittingly, 50 speakers at the rally preceding the March on Saturday – representing civil rights and labor organizations. They ranged in age from 10 to 80. Most had only 2 minutes, forcing them to be succinct. Almost all connected the issues and movements of the past with the current struggles and opportunities of the present.

Here are points from the speeches, which were especially meaningful to me. None of the remarks (expect the last 2) are linked to those who presented them.

• This must not be commemoration but a continuation. Are you here to commemorate or to participate? To be seen or to make change? We just can’t stand here at the Lincoln Memorial. We have to organize for change. Shame on us if we’re back here 50 years from now with the same demands.
• We’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go
• The Supreme Court has eviscerated the Voting Rights Act
• Economic indicators: we’ve increased in inequality over the last 50 years. Minimum wage is less in real terms that it was 50 years ago. Unemployment and underemployment then was 10%, now it’s 13%
• We must keep dreaming
• We’re tired of being sick and tired
• It’s movement time
• Voices in the courtroom or in Congress aren’t enough. We need people in the streets.
• Immigrant used to be a word that bounded people together. Now it’s used to divide
• Rights are self-evident, given not by man, but by God
MLK’s triplets of evil: racism, materialism and militarism
• People are being put in prison to make profit for others
• We need a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote
• He had a dream. We need a team.
• Voices at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago weren’t the end but the beginning. Our voices matter.
• We need to make Congress fear us more than they do the corporate gun lobby
• We must pick up the burdens left by others
• Something is wrong when corporations are making record profits and service workers are making minimum wage
• Racial justice and economic equality go hand in hand
• Yesterday it was racism; today it’s hatred and greed
• It’s no longer about providing civil rights to one group. It’s now about civil rights to all groups
• When they say no you can’t, we say yes you can
• We need to fight for a level playing field.
• When people work full time and don’t have enough to live on, we still have a lot of work to do.
• MLK’s 1963 speech was not simple about a dream but a call to action. A fierce urgency of now to combat the drug of complacency.
• We must make minimum wage a livable wage. And paid sick leave.
• Think of the term “Stand Your Ground” as a positive ring for freedom, justice and equality
• Marcia Fudge (Congresswomen from Cleveland and head of the Congressional Black Caucus): We are still fighting for good jobs, equal education, fair housing and right to vote. Tomorrow’s dream depends on today’s movement. As King said, it is time to be uncomfortable, to take risks, to stand for something and march for something.
• John Lewis (current Congressman and former leader of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who spoke at the 1963 rally): We can’t go back. We can’t be patient. We want jobs and freedom now. You have to stand up, speak up and get in the way.


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