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Jakada Imani Headshot

Honoring the Dream

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This Saturday, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech, conservatives will gather for a "Restoring Honor" rally at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. For the Tea Party crowd to connect themselves to the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement can't be seen as anything other then deeply disingenuous. When thousands of people joined Dr. King to march on Washington, they were demanding that the federal government intervene on behalf of poor people. They called on the government to do more to level the playing field. However, the forces that are gathering this weekend want just the opposite.

But, that's not the biggest concern for me. The rally where King made his most famous speech was named the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Today we have millions of people out of work. The gap between the rich and poor is growing. Joblessness still disproportionally impacts people of color. Each month thousands more lose their homes. And not because of taxes, but due to the power and decisions of the banks our taxes bailed out. This is what truly concerns me and fuels my commitment to change.

Dr. King's dream was about what we could do together. In 1963, he told thousands of freedom fighters, "We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead." And the anniversary of the rally is a fitting time to reflect on all we have achieved in our communities for people of color, women, LGBTQ communities and working folks. For each of these achievements, there have been people in motion; that is why they are called movements. People-powered action, driven by faith and the belief that we can make things better together. That is how change happens.

With that in mind, on the anniversary of the March on Washington, I am not going to get sidetracked from the work just because the Tea Party will be assembling. I am going to honor the pledge that Dr. King asked the nation to make- to not walk alone and always march ahead.