If alive in America today King might say ‘I am still dreaming’
Big gaps in society between the ‘haves and have-nots’, says marcher
People sing along to gospel music during a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Many attending the commemoration of Martin Luther King jnr’s I Have A Dream speech still believed they were marching for jobs and freedom 50 years after the famous march on Washington.
They lamented that King’s dream was not yet a reality and the US not yet a colour-blind nation where people would “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of the character”.
Standing next to King’s stone memorial near the National Mall in Washington, Carol Maillard from New York City said more needed to be done for equality in jobs and human rights for all people in America.
“You cannot realise a dream that profound, that serious in 50 years – there is a lot of work that still needs to be done,” she says.
Sandra Zaccaria, walking past the Washington Monument on her way to the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial where King made his famous speech, says this is her “dream deferred being realised”. She was a student on August 28th, 1963, and forbidden by her parents from attending the march.
“There is still a big disparity between the economic future of the minority person and the majority person, and the majority person will soon become the minority,” says the 70-year-old woman.
Darren Walton, who travelled to Washington from Atlanta, Georgia, King’s birthplace, says there is still a big gap in American society between the “haves and the have-nots”.
King’s vision was not about equality for just black Americans but all Americans, he says. “Everyone wants to be treated equally; it is about everyone having equal rights and bigger than just marginalising it as a black issue – it is not just a black issue but a human issue,” he said.
Angela Jones from Maryland attended the commemoration to protest at the recent decision of the Supreme Court to strike down a civil rights-era electoral law to protect minority voters.
“It is critical to show our country’s politicians they cannot roll back on our voting rights,” she said. “We cannot allow that because we – whites, blacks, yellows, browns – will lose our civil rights.”
Her friend, Angel Brown (33), says the King commemoration is important for young people “to see where we came from so we don’t go back to pre-civil rights”.
Kenniaah Rose, a community activist and public speaker from Philadelphia, sat at the King monument all morning. She learned his I Have A Dream speech off when she was 13. “What would he say today?” she asked. “I am still dreaming.”