Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI12) released the statement below, recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Dingell is the lone remaining member of Congress to have voted for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
"Fifty years ago today, hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington in a peaceful and nonviolent protest of the deep injustices faced by African Americans since our nation's founding. They gathered together in the name of jobs and freedom--from every faith, color, and creed--united in their belief that our nation must do more. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., told the assembled masses of his "dream,' a vision of a nation that had conquered the mountains of hate we faced. My dear friend and colleague John Lewis, then just 23-years old and the youngest speaker at the March, remarked that "we shall splinter the desegregated South into a thousand pieces and put them back together in the image of God and democracy.'
"This event served as a giant step forward in our collective fight for equality, helping to pave a path for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which, to this very day, I hold in my head and heart as the most important votes I've cast during my entire career in Congress.
"Today, hundreds of thousands more have come to Washington, not only to recognize the anniversary of this monumental day, but also to continue that very same call for jobs and freedom. They continue the call for a Congress that works on behalf of all Americans. They continue the call for a fix to the Supreme Court's unwise dismantling of the Voting Rights Act. They continue the call for equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, race, or any other factors. Simply put, they are here because there is much work to be done and seemingly little interest from many elected officials in tackling the pressing issues we face.
"I stand with all who gather to join their voices together in a call for action from our government on matters of justice, income inequality, protection of the rights of men, women and children, and the core belief that our nation exists to grant all of its citizens the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While much has been accomplished in the last fifty years, much remains to be done. As always, I will continue my work -- hopefully with others -- to protect and advance the rights of all Americans."