On Wednesday, fifty years after Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told the world about his dream, our nation's first African-American president spoke from the very same steps of the Lincoln Memorial. President Obama spoke to a crowd of thousands, who marched on the National Mall to commemorate Dr. King's historic speech. In recognition of how far the fight for equality has come, President Obama said, “To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed, that dishonors the courage, the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years.”
However, he also acknowledged how far we still have to go in the fight towards equality. He said, “we would dishonor those heroes as well, to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete.” The President, along with other civil rights leaders who spoke at the event, said that fighting for voting rights, combating unemployment, and reducing gun violence are still important issues in 2013. The “Let Freedom Ring and Call to Action” ceremony took place to honor the influential life and work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the millions who fought for civil rights in our nation.
President Obama explained the fight continues, “not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, for Catholics, Jews and Muslims, for gays, [and] for Americans with disabilities.” He said, “We might not face the same dangers of 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains. We may never duplicate the swelling crowds and dazzling procession of that day so long ago – no one can match King's brilliance – but the same flame that lit the hearts of all who are willing to take a first step for justice, I know that flame remains.”
Listen to The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.