Today, Rep. Jackson Lee marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his historic "I Have A Dream" speech that inspired a nation. More than 200,000 people -- of all races and backgrounds -- came from all over the country to participate in the March, calling for fundamental social and economic justice for all Americans, at a time when many public facilities in regions of the country were still segregated.
"This massive March helped to awaken the conscience of the country," Rep. Jackson Lee pointed out. "Less than one year after the March, on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the most sweeping civil rights bill since Reconstruction, into law. Then, a year later, on August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, which has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans, into law."
"Over the last 50 years, key progress has been made in moving forward on the vision of America that Dr. King laid out in his "I Have A Dream' speech," Rep. Jackson Lee pointed out. "And yet more progress needs to be made."
"The first key step that Congress must take this year is to restore the power of the Voting Rights Act by enacting a legislative fix in response to the damaging 5-4 Supreme Court decision in June, which took a step backwards on the Voting Rights Act by declaring part of it unconstitutional," Rep. Jackson Lee stated. "This legislative fix must be designed to ensure that the Voting Rights Act continues to fully protect the right to vote for years to come."
"Further, to live up to Dr. King's vision, we must all work together to significantly expand economic and educational opportunity to all Americans -- no matter what their race or ethnic origin," Rep. Jackson Lee concluded. "We must ensure that ladders of opportunity are available to every American. By taking such steps as expanding early childhood education, making college more affordable, investing in effective job training, and raising the minimum wage, we can do much more to expand opportunity. We must continue to strive until Dr. King's vision is finally realized and America fully lives up to its true promise and ideals."