50 years later, thousands retrace March on Washington
Via USA Today August 24 2013
WASHINGTON — Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. offered a transcendent vision of racial harmony for America's future with his "I Have a Dream" speech, tens of thousands gathered where he spoke Saturday to hear leaders tell them that while much has been attained, much remains unfinished.
"Dreams are for those who won't accept reality as it is, so they dream of what is not there and make it possible," the Rev. Al Sharpton, an event organizer, told the throngs that pulsated with enthusiasm — laughing, cheering, nodding and clapping.
Orators speaking from the steps where King stood outlined what they said were promises yet unfulfilled in preserving voting rights, quelling gun violence, reducing economic disparity and achieving equal protection under the law. Among the thousands were more women, more Hispanics and more people representing sexual diversity — and more tech-savvy — than their predecessors 50 years before.
Many said they felt an inspiring sense of unity while witnessing history. "It's beautiful around here," said 17-year-old Margaret Foster, who attended with her mother, Tamilikia, from Lansing, Mich.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the only surviving speaker from the original 1963 event, said the most brutal days of the civil rights struggle "for the most part are gone." But he said the struggle for a more perfect America goes on.
"We cannot give up. We cannot give out. And we cannot give in," Lewis said, urging that crucial elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court be placed back into law by Congress.
"The vote is precious. It's almost sacred," he said.