Forty-seven years after the historic March on Washington, Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network and leaders from his over 47 National Action Network chapters across the country, along with heads of progressive organizations, unions and clergy, will lead a mass rally and march in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 28, 2010 to RECLAIM THE DREAM.
Joining NAN will be a cross-section of organizations and principals including, but not limited to: National Action Network (NAN); United States Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, Martin Luther King, III, President, Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.; Ed Schultz, Television and radio show host; Tom Joyner, The Tom Joyner Morning Show & Reach Media; Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League; Benjamin Todd Jealous, President of NAACP; Melanie L. Campbell, President of National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; representatives from Media Matters, and many other religious groups, labor unions, and organizations.
While the conservative tea party members and right wing TV host Glenn Beck will attempt to hijack the dream, at the same time civil rights activists will convene at Dunbar High School to shed light upon key issues that have diminished the dream. As we prepare to mark the 47th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech on this date, Glenn Beck and others are expected to push for the expansion of states’ rights – the exact antithesis of the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s legacy.
According to Rev. Al Sharpton and NAN, when we study the intense struggle for civil rights, we quickly – and rightfully – find ourselves analyzing the life and legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We learn of his tireless efforts to achieve equality and justice for all of humanity, as we pass on legends of sit-ins, marches and boycotts to our children. But what we as a collective sometimes forget to impress upon the next generation is the depth to which Dr. King was an advocate the position that the federal government as he knew it was the only effective tool to ensure a unified system of equality in every state.
Rev Al Sharpton issued the following statement rejecting the attempt by Glen Beck to hi jack the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King…
‘Too many Black people died so that we can have the relative freedoms we enjoy today and live in harmony with other people. Far too many people of African heritage and others from all walks of life suffer today due to poverty, bigotry and violence.
It is a failure on the part of the living when we allow our ancestral giants to be miniaturized and their spirits made into harmless images for commercial use and instruments of pacification.
It is a huge mission, but I ask us to begin with a small task. We do MLK Day a little different with a message closer to his own. I close with Dr. King’s words from his most famous speech. Words you will seldom see or hear unless you read or listen to the speech in its entirety.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. *We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: “For Whites Only.”* We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Today, the right wing Tea Party and allied conservatives are trying to break that national stance on justice and, in turn, break the crux of what the civil rights movement symbolized and what Dr. King fought and literally died for. No one day was more important than that day forty-seven years ago when world stood still and heard the dream eloquently spoken by Dr. King. Event participants will Reclaim the Dream on Saturday, August 28th 2010.