60th anniversary of the March on Washington
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Today marks the 60-year anniversary since Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
However, civil rights experts and activists here in Eastern North Carolina say a lot of work is still needed to achieve equality for all.
At the Pitt County Courthouse, a confederate statue stood just until three years ago. We’ve seen changes but have we really come a long way since the march on Washington D.C.? Experts and activists in East Carolina say MLK’s dream is still not fully recognized yet.
On August 28th, 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., declaring his desire for equality for all, but 60 years later, civil rights leaders say that dream still isn’t a reality.
They say the ongoing battle over Confederate symbols and racially motivated crimes like a deadly shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, where three black Americans were targeted specifically because of their skin color, proves there is work to be done.
Genesis Ray, the ECU NAACP event organizer said “As honored as I am as an African American person today and knowing all the things that our ancestors did for us to even be at a college right now, especially a college that is a predominantly white institution, that is an honor. but it is also saddening to know that as this is going on, people who look like me are still being murdered.
Jade Gatling, the vice-president of NAACP, says the march on Washington also has a deep personal connection. Her grandfather marched alongside MLK in an effort to fight for equality.
Gatling told WITN, “Today would be the 60th anniversary of the march on Washington and MLK speech and it just shows us what was going on at that time and how our community just got it together and became unified on this day to come together and to take the stand and say we’re not going to accept this anymore and this is what we need for the future.”
Civil rights experts say that in order to keep King’s dream alive, law-making from a national level needs to recognize the long history of discrimination so that it can prevent repeating it.
Hugh Lee, the ECU civil liberties professor shared, “The challenge for us going forward if we were to realize the promises on the march on Washington is to figure out how to craft legislation that can address the long-term effects of that that the court finds acceptable.”
NAACP activists say anyone can join and be a part of NAACP to raise awareness of civil rights inequality and racial discrimination that persists today.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also observed the anniversary of the march on Washington today by meeting with organizers of the 1963 gathering.
A total of 60 racial organizations partnered in remembrance of the Washington march.
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