Martin Luther King, III, the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network (NAN), are holding on to the dream. Fifty-years-after Dr. King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963, they have mounted the same steps at the Lincoln Memorial. Joined by a cross-sector of speakers ranging from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to the family of Trayvon Martin.
There has been an alliance of prominent advocates of labor, health, housing, education, media, and civil and human rights, the purpose of the march was not just to celebrate the historic 1963 March on Washington, but to galvanize the American people around the compelling issues of today including questions in the criminal justice system in the national spotlight, from Stop and Frisk police tactics in New York, to Stand Your Ground laws in Florida, as well as, women’s issues, immigration, workers’ rights, LGBT equality, among others. Congressman John Lewis, the only one of the six leaders of the March on Washington of 1963 that is still alive stood with Martin Luther King III, Rev. Al Sharpton and thousands of others at the historic event.
Groups that participated included: The King Center, A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), NAACP, NAACP LDF, National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League (NUL), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Tom Joyner, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Communities Without Boundaries International, Inc. (CWBI), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 1199 SEIU, United Federation of Teachers (UFT), United Here, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE, Military Families Speak Out, Fair Vote, United for Peace & Justice, Veterans for Peace, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Congress of Black Women (NCBW), , National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), Black Women’s Health Imperative, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Black Justice Coalition, Family Equality Council, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), The Hip Hop Caucus, Operation Hope, Impact Black Youth Vote, Our Time.org, Skinner Leadership Institute and many others.
According to Rev. Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III, many Americans including those who have faced a history of exclusion—people of color, poor whites, women, workers, immigrants, LGBT’s—are still disproportionately represented in many negative socioeconomic categories like poverty, poor education, unemployment, underemployment, loss of labor rights, inadequate health care, unfairness in the justice system and voter suppression. “It is the intent of those that come together to make it clear that this is not just a nostalgia visit, that this is not a commemoration but a continuation and a call to action,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We are in a climate that is threatening too much of what was achieved 50 years ago.”
Martin Luther King III was on hand to further discuss and address the continuation of his father’s dream and mission during a Youth Celebration and Book Launch/Signing of his new children’s book, “My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” which was held on Sunday, August 25, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial/National Mall. Dr. Martin Luther King’s granddaughter, Miss Yolanda Renee King was the host of youth celebration and perform a special reading of “My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King.”
Martin Luther King III shares, “We must continue to find new ways to renew and realize the dream. Our work is not done.”