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Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: National Action Network Press Release

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REV. AL SHARPTON & MARTIN LUTHER KING, III, TO BE JOINED BY CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS (LAST LIVING CONVENER OF 1963 MARCH ON WASHINGTON), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER NANCY PELOSI, DEMOCRATIC WHIP STENY HOYER, THE FAMILIES OF EMMETT TILL, & TRAYVON MARTIN, & LEADERS FROM CIVIL RIGHTS, THE CHURCH, LABOR & WOMEN’S GROUPS, IMMIGRATION ADVOCATES, THE LGBT COMMUNITY & MORE FOR THE NATIONAL ACTION TO REALIZE THE DREAM MARCH SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

(Washington, DC)–Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network (NAN), and Martin Luther King, III, President of Realize the Dream, and the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., have announced that fifty-years-after Dr. King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963, they will mount the same steps at the Lincoln Memorial to lead the 50th Anniversary March on Washington National Action to Realize the Dream on Saturday, August 24, 2013. Joining them will be a cross-sector of speakers ranging from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to the family of Trayvon Martin.

In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling negating a key section of the Voting Rights Act, the ruling in the George Zimmerman case, and other current and crucial civil rights issues, march organizers will push for immediate action from Congress. Jobs in the black community are stuck at over 13 percent and there must be pressure applied to Congress to create jobs. With questions in the criminal justice system in the national spotlight, from Stop and Frisk police tactics in New York, to Stand Your Ground laws in Florida, there is a real concern about the state of Blacks in the justice system. There must be a mandate that 50-years after fighting some of the same battles, there must be a continuation march not a commemoration march.

Joined by an alliance of prominent advocates of labor, health, housing, education, media, and civil and human rights, the purpose of the march is not just to celebrate the historic 1963 March on Washington, but to galvanize the American people around the compelling issues of today including women’s issues, immigration, workers’ rights, LGBT equality, among others. Congressman John Lewis, the only one of the six leaders of the March on Washington of 1963 that is still alive has agreed to stand with Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King, III and thousands of others at the historic event.

Among the speakers and groups joining with Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network, and Martin Luther King, III are: the families of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; Congressman John Lewis; Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader; Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer; Randi Weingarten- President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Lee Saunders- President, AFSCME; Janet Murguia- President, The National Council of LaRAZA; Mary Kay Henry- International President, Service Employers International Union (SEIU); Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association (NEA); and many others.

Speakers will be listed on theNational Action Network website in the near future (www.nationalactionnetwork.net)

Participating groups include but are not limited to: The King Center, A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), NAACP, NAACP LDF,National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League (NUL), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), NationalCoalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Tom Joyner, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Communities Without Boundaries International, Inc. (CWBI), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 1199 SEIU, United Federation of Teachers (UFT), United Here, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE, Military Families Speak Out, Fair Vote, United for Peace & Justice, Veterans for Peace, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NationalCongress of Black Women (NCBW), , National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), Black Women’s Health Imperative, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Black Justice Coalition, Family Equality Council, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), The Hip Hop Caucus, Operation Hope, Impact Black Youth Vote, Our Time.org, Skinner Leadership Institute and many others.  The National Action to Realize the Dream March is one of the many events taking place August 21st through August 28th to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.  Visit www.mlkdream50.com for a full listing of official events.

According to Rev. Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III, many Americans including those who have faced a history of exclusion—people of color, poor whites, women, workers, immigrants, LGBT’s—are still disproportionately represented in many negative socioeconomic categories like poverty, poor education, unemployment, underemployment, loss of labor rights, inadequate health care, unfairness in the justice system and voter suppression. “It is the intent of those that come together to make it clear that this is not just a nostalgia visit, that this is not a commemoration but a continuation and a call to action,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We are in a climate that is threatening too much of what was achieved 50 years ago.”

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