New Issues Find Home at March on Washington Commemoration

As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Wednesday, activists see the 2013 “Let Freedom Ring” event as an opportunity to make sure contemporary equality issues take their place alongside the great civil rights fights of the past and become a part of the dream Martin Luther King Jr. articulated.

“To be clear, the dream hasn’t been realized,” said Rev. MacArthur H. Flournoy, director of Faith Partnerships and Mobilization for the Human Rights Campaign. “From the need for a federal non-discrimination law that protects every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender worker against bias to the hate crimes that disproportionately affect my LGBT brothers and sisters of color, there’s a long road ahead.”

“Civil rights, broadly defined, are the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality,” said Gregory Cendana, executive director for the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. “That’s why we come together not as individuals, to speak on issues that specifically affect our community, because the struggles we deal with transcend race, class, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and all identities.

Flournoy and Cendana both said the anniversary march is a big stage for issues to be presented, and the opportunity must be seized to bring about change.

“We don’t want to see a moment happen; we want to enact a movement. A movement of underrepresented communities continuing to push back on politicians that are not working in the interest of the communities they serve,” Cendana said.

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