Senator Mikulski’s Thoughts on Renewing the DreamU.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski released this statement on August 20 about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington:
Renewing the Dream: The Fight for Justice, Equality & Freedom 50 Years After the March on Washington
“In the coming days, Americans across our state and our nation will come together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington. On August 28, 1963, we marched. We marched for jobs, for justice, for the economy and for freedom.
“I remember that march. I was getting ready to go back to school. Baltimore was a staging location, and many social workers helped as marchers came down from New York and Pennsylvania. This diverse group of determined individuals, all with a story and a cause, made up the nearly 250,000 people who marched that day. It was an important testament to the power of a collective voice, one in support of equal rights and treatment of all. And it was this collective voice that helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
“We have had many victories, and made much progress in ensuring equality for all. We have elected a black president to the White House, passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, repealed DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We have accomplished so much, but we still have so far to go. The fight for civil rights is far from over. Racial, religious and gender violence continues in our streets and in our homes. Voters’ rights have been threatened by the recent Supreme Court decision, leaving Americans vulnerable to prejudice and intimidation. And so we find ourselves, fifty years later, fighting many of the same fights.
“We need to reclaim that bill of rights, and not let any court decision take it away from us. They are chopping away at the Voting Rights Act. Let’s change the law if we have to. Let us march for our liberties and the people who were there, and said “ain’t I a man,” later calling on the words “ain’t I a woman.”
“So it is important now more than ever to hold that dream of Dr. King in our hearts. Let’s remember the history that was written here 50 years ago. And just as we marched then, we need to march today. Together we can end injustice. Together we can break down barriers to equality, so that all people regardless of race, faith or gender can live in a country that never promised anything less than their undeniable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”