[QODLink]
Americas

US marks 'I have a dream' commemorations

Americans march in preparation for 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech on equal rights.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 04:19
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Tens of thousands of marchers kicked off the 50th anniversary commemorations in Washington of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream'' speech.

The event on Saturday was the precursor to the actual anniversary of the march. On the day of the anniversary, Wednesday, March 28, President Barack Obama will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same place King stood when he delivered his speech.

On Saturday, Eric Holder, the nation's first black Attorney General, thanked those who marched a half century earlier. He said he would not be in office, nor would Obama be president, without them.

"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 said the spirit of the 1963 march now demands equality for gays, Latinos, women, the disabled and others. Keeping with that theme, those in attendance represented a number of causes advocating gay rights, organised labour, voting rights, and even access to local post offices.

Many speakers cited persistent unemployment among African-Americans, which is about double that of white Americans.

Others spoke of the Florida shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, who argued self-defence.

"It's very difficult to stomach the fact that Trayvon wasn't committing any crime. He was on his way home from the store,'' Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, said as she prepared to participate in the march. 

On the day of the anniversary, Obama will be joined by former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Churches and groups have been asked to ring bells at 3pm, marking the exact time King spoke.

On Friday, a coalition of black leaders issued what they said is the 21st century agenda for the nation. They named economic parity, equity in education, voting rights, health care access and criminal justice reform as
national policy priorities.

324

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.