As most of you know, we are coming up on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. There will be a ton of events leading up to the actual Anniversary next week on August 28, 2013.
But as we talk about the March and more important all the people who were a part of making in successful it is critical that we don’t forget the roll young people played in its planning and execution. Many will make the mistake of treating this Anniversary as a 50th Celebration of the, I have a Dream Speech. And while history has been changed by the words Dr. King spoke at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, It was this very march planned by a committee of noble men and women and executed by even more that provided the stage for on of the most important speeches in modern history.
But the march was about more than speeches. It was the part of a movement of black and white men and women committed to fighting poverty and providing opportunity. Banard Rustin, a brilliant strategist along with many others orchestrated an event that before Aug 28, 1963 had never been seen before. Every march in DC that we have seen has attempted to model itself around those 250,000 souls courageous enough to be a part of a march that was not popular when it was being planned. They changed the face of the country and set the stage for major legislative change that many are now trying to turn back the clock on.
And as we move into this week there are going to be a slate of programs that will not be about fighting for the evolved issues that they fought for 50 years ago, but rather who can talk the best. Lets all of us…if we are going to celebrate not ask what would King like or not like….but rather is our celebration rooted in lifting up the work to end poverty, create jobs and opportunity, and challenge injustice. That is the litmus that will determine if we are truly celebrating our ancestors or honoring ourselves for work we have yet to do.
I am working with the Memorial Foundation, who worked to build the King Memorial on the National Mall to host a Drum Majors for Justice event designed to lift up the next generation of young activists, attorneys, elected officials, and funders who are committed to changing the local and national landscape by using their skills to fight for justice. If you know a young person working to make a difference please nominate them at http://drummajorsforjustice.com/.