Marching for Dr. King’s Vision

Photo by Linda Davidson-The Washington Post (Click photo for full slideshow)

Glenn Beck’s rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial wasn’t the only DC rally over the weekend.  Nor was it the most important.

More than 100 civil rights and religious leaders took joined together for an early morning gathering to remember Dr. Martin Luther King and the importance of the 1963 March on Washington. Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, and Imam Yahya Hendi of Clergy Beyond Borders all spoke eloquently of keeping Dr. King’s vision alive in our hearts, on the streets, and in the policy arena.

We then moved on to the day’s main event organized by Rev. Sharpton’s National Action Network, drawing more than 5,000 to rally and march to the future site of the Dr. King Memorial off the National Mall in that same hot DC August sun that greeted Dr. King’s followers in the March on Washington 47 years ago.

The rally featured NAACP head Ben Jealous, Janet Murgia of the National Council of La Raza, the head of several black colleges, labor unions and civil rights organizations, speakers from gay rights and farmers rights organizations..  The primarily African American rally filled the football field and bleachers of DC’s premier African American public school, Dunbar High School, before hitting the streets.  Contingents from Detroit to Mississippi, the black Teamsters, the historic black colleges, Delta Sigma Theta, and local residents from across Washington DC proudly cheered for the legacy of Dr. King and for the policy agenda of the nation’s first black President. Here were the real patriots.

Rev. Sharpton compared then and now in his speech.  How Dr King came to Washington hoping for a meeting with President Kennedy and in contrast today a black man sits in that same Oval office.  How march participants 47 years ago had to travel for hours in pain for lack of a rest room on the bus routes coming in from all directions, where today they could fly First Class on a plane if they had the means and stop in any restaurant they wanted to eat.

It was beyond heartening to stand where Dr. King would have been, calling for jobs, housing, income supports, immigration reform and the protection and expansion of civil rights for all. That spirit is the true legacy of Dr. King’s vision.

March with us for that vision on October 2nd at the “One Nation Working Together” March in Washington, DC. Go to www.OneNationWorkingTogether.org for details.

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