The White House – President Obama was just two years old when Dr. King, along with hundreds of thousands of ordinary folks, inspired the country at the March on Washington. The President is a full generation removed from the heroes who marched across the bridge in Selma, who boycotted the buses in Montgomery, who integrated the lunch counters in Greensboro, but they inspired his commitment to public service.
And if his presidency is a symbol of the progress we’ve made as a nation, his speech yesterday — a full half century after the March on Washington — was an impassioned call to continue building on the work of the civil rights movement.
We too often forget that when the crowds converged on the National Mall 50 years ago, they were marching for jobs and freedom. The speakers talked about rolling back oppression, but they also demanded equal access to opportunity and a fair shot at economic success.
We have made great progress, but these goals remain just as relevant today as they were in 1963. Every American deserves to feel the pride of a hard-earned paycheck and the opportunity to achieve their dreams, regardless of who they are or where they are born.
As President Obama said, “The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own. To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency.”