Today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The copyright in the speech is administered by EMI, with the consent of the King family. Thus the speech may not be freely played on video or reproduced and costlessly distributed across the nation -- even today.
Yes, we have survived the Great Recession and employment is up. But according to the Census Bureau, one-third of adults who live in poverty are working. They simply don't earn enough to support themselves and their families.
Dr. King used his remarkable oratorical skills to inspire listeners to believe that their struggles to free themselves from oppression were historically, globally, and morally significant.
To stand up to the powerful interests driving our politics, we need to recapture the energy and moral authority of the thousands who marched in 1963 and we also need to harness our own energy to push for freedoms beyond those dreamed of on the Washington Mall 50 years ago.
MLK's most daring acts of faith were his strategical acts of nonviolence. His stance to fight physical power with soul power, was and still is, a radical choice of weapons.
President Obama, as you consider how actively to pursue your progressive agenda, remember that the 1963 March on Washington took place despite initial trepidation by President Kennedy and others.
The March on Washington was not about a speech. It was about the marchers. It was a celebration of collective action that had been happening in communities across the South and even in the North.
While almost everyone who is here in D.C. this week agrees that much has changed since that momentous day, they all are quick to add that there is still more that needs to be done before King's dream is finally realized.
The challenge in our field is to have calm, respectful conversations with people with whom we do not agree, to understand the basis of those disagreements and to build broad coalitions to move forward. In the words of Dr. King, "We cannot walk alone."
The great advances in civil rights that were to follow in the years ahead were not at all certain as we gathered to watch the marchers stroll along in the dappled sun and shade on Constitution Ave. on a brilliant summer day. I was acutely aware of what was being said elsewhere across the nation.
Tomorrow, the progressive movement will stand together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington because we want to protect working families, keep our air and water clean, and ensure justice for every American.
Like King, leaders of the Palestinian popular resistance -- from intellectuals to grassroots villagers who'd been repeatedly jailed -- spoke to us about universal human rights, about a human family in which all deserve equal rights regardless of religion or nationality.
If we are going to move past dreams and visions to reality and experience, the next great revolution must be both internal and televised. It must be one committed to the hard work of humanizing the poor and marginalized.
So much is being written and commented upon on television about the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago, August 28th, this month. Accordingly, I thought it might be useful to share my own recollection of the event, in real time, as it then occurred.
National television cameras and reporters might show up to cover marches and rallies the day they happen. But if you're looking for the stories behind these movements, you're more likely to get them from independent activist journalists.
African-American talent urgently needs what one diversity expert calls "door-opening relationships" -- powerful links to senior executives willing to put their reputations on the line to promote their protégés all the way to the top.