Fifty years ago this week a man stood among the masses in our nation’s capital to share his dream with the world, a dream of freedom and equality for all. His timeless message was calling upon each of us to reexamine our daily treatment of each other. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a profound message that marks a turning point not only in the Civil Rights Movement, but also in American history. Fifty years later his energy is still felt as we return to honor the man who literally gave his life to the belief that we are all created equal.
This weekend the city hosted a multitude truly representative of our nation, a gathering of people that justly embodies King’s dream. A microcosm of America, people of all ages, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status are present, standing together in the belief that differences should not divide us, but instead unite us. The worst four-letter word in the English language is T-H-E-M. THEM is used to polarize, discriminate, separate, create hate, instill fear, inhibit understanding, and perpetuate violence. Some of those who marched this weekend came out to support or protest a variety of issues ranging from gun control to abortion. But as I spoke with many in the crowd, the underlying theme I found was that everyone has experienced the marginalization that King dedicated his life to fighting against.
While almost everyone who is here in DC this week agrees that much has changed since that momentous day, they all are quick to add that there is still more that needs to be done before King’s dream is finally realized. What follows are just some of the stories and experiences told by those who gathered for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.