By paying tribute to the courage of civil rights forerunners including Martin Luther King Jr., and calling for unity in the face of perpetual challenges to live up to what he called the promise put forth in the Declaration of Independence President Barack Obama marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
In 1963 where King carried out his “I Have a Dream” speech, Obama reflected on the accomplishments of the Civil Rights era, while acknowledging that there remains room for improvement by speaking at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Obama called for observance in beating back voter marginalization efforts, in fighting for good jobs, fair pay and “ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all in the criminal justice system and not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails.”
The president said that onrushing the marchers’ goals oblige people of all colors and creeds to work together and recalled that the March on Washington was as much about economic opportunity as civil rights.
The president said “That’s where audacity comes from: when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but toward one another, and we find that we do not walk alone.”
The president continued, “We would do well to recant that day itself also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, people who sat down at isolated lunch counters, or attended isolated schools, and faced dire oppression when they dared speak up for change.