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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  August 31, 2013 10:00am-3:01pm EDT

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>> here's a look look at our schedule on c-span. insident obama takes place the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. the more about the watchmen the civil rights movement with rights previous -- reince priebus. it has been 50 years since the march on washington where martin luther king gave his "i have a dream" speech. now the commemoration cement -- ceremony with remarks from president obama, jimmy carter, and bill clinton. they spoke from the steps of the memorial.
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it is 4.5 hours. like sows everybody doing out there? it is a privilege to welcome you to a celebration and commemoration. on this day 50 years ago hundreds of thousands of people came together to be part of a call to action. it would defy not just the civil rights movement but it reminds us of who we are as americans. >> what is the dream? was delivered right here. imagine what it was like to be here 50 years ago. hundreds of thousands of people came together to be part of a
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call to action.there were rumors that coming here would be dangerous. there were fears that nobody would show up. in the end, it was a success because people believed in the power of standing for something. that speech by dr. king was not called, "i have a dream." it was called, normalcy never again. it was about opportunity for all people. >> it was about looking forward to where we need to go as a country, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from 50 years ago. he said, the future does not belong to those who are fearful of gold projects and new ideas, but it longs to those -- belongs to those who can blend passion and courage. >> in 1963, i was in the mind of god, as my mother would say.
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my parents, an interracial couple, knew the importance of the message that was delivered here. their marriage in 1958 was illegal in the state where they lived. they came to the nation's capital to get married. 55 years later, they have seen tremendous change. they have seen opportunities grow. >> look at this audience. if you were here during the march in 63, make some noise. if you wish you were here in 1963, make some noise. >> those of you who were here, we say thank you. it was your passion -- >> it was your courage -- >> it was your commitment to change the world allowed those of us who were not there to benefit from the sacrifices you made. >> today we are gathered to humbly say, thank you. to celebrate what was gained, remember what was lost, and move forward.
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we know we are always better if we stand together. >> thank you, and welcome, everybody. [applause] >> to give today's invitation, lee's welcome pastor a r bernard from the christian cultural center -- please welcome pastor a.r. bernard from the christian cultural center. >> good morning. writer-philosopher, educator,
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first black rhodes scholar in 1907, elaine leroy iraq -- leroy locke said that beatings, castration's, and more lynching it almost passes human understanding how people can be so socially despised, yet artistically esteemed. so degraded, and yet culturally influential. so ostracized, and yet a dominant editorial force in american life. zora neale hurston said, sometimes i do feel discriminated against, but it doesn't make me angry. it merely astonishes me, how can anyone deny themselves the
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pleasure of my company is beyond me. these were two voices from an era and african-american history that sought to move away from the influences of slavery on black identity, guided by the ideals of self definition, self- expression, self-determination and self-reliance. they forged a new black identity. they called themselves the new negro movement, better known as the harlem renaissance. creating their own literature, arts, music, theater. they artistically and intellectually challenged the prevailing black stereotypes. from this generation emerged names such as elaine leroy locke, neale hurston claude mckay, fats waller, duke ellington. america experienced and said, we like the style of these people. they enjoyed it, adopted it, integrated it. and exploited it. the popularity of black style
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and culture soon spread throughout the country. it was not enough for black folks to be artistically admired. black folks wanted and demanded full participation in the social, political, and economic life of american society. that attitude set the stage for the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's. on wednesday, august 28, 1963, 300,000 people -- 80% of them black -- marched on the nation's capital as did before this lincoln memorial, declaring that the time for radical change had come -- and stood before this lincoln memorial, declaring that the time for radical change had come. celebrating the past is good.
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but without a vision for the future, we will never move beyond that past. in 2008, america was ready for an intelligent and articulate black man to sit in the oval office. he brought not only his intelligence, but some swagger into the white house. the reality is, in three years, the first black family will leave the white house, and black folks will be forced to ask the question, where are we as black people in america? where are we politically, socially, educationally, and economically? we will discover that the struggle is not over. with determination, faith, and patients, we have obtained some
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of the promises of america. but we still have a long way to go. the same god who brought us this far, we must trust and depend on to take us into the future. let us bow our heads and go to that god in prayer. eternal god and everlasting father, our prayer is short and simple. give us wisdom, give us insight. give us courage. give us leadership. more importantly, give us a vision for the future. without it, we will not move beyond the achievements of the past. we ask you to bless every speaker, every singer. bless us today as we celebrate the past, but look forward to the future. in your name we pray, amen. >> ladies, it is my humbling
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honor to bring to you now a man who i have the deepest respect for, someone who is a living legend and true hero of the civil rights movement. please rise to your feet and welcome ambassador andrew young. [applause] >> i don't know about you, but i woke up this morning ? with my mind set on freedom ? come on, help me. i woke up this morning with my i woke up this morning with my mind, standing on freedom. hallelujah hallelujah well i'm walking and talking wth ith my mind, with my mind.
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walking and talking with my mind freedom. hallelu, hallelujah. ♪ 50 years ago, when we came here, we came from a battle. we came from a battle in birmingham. that was just a few months before, before martin luther king came here to speak of his dream. he had been through bombings, jailing's, beatings. he had been snatched from his jailhouse cell and put in chains and taken down to the reidsville
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penitentiary in the middle of the night and thought it was going to be his last night on earth. he went through the battles of albany and birmingham and came out victorious. we knew the fight was just beginning. we knew we had a long way to go, and this was just the start. he came here representing the southern christian leadership conference, saying that we were going to redeem the soul of america from the triple evils of racism, war, and poverty. he came not talking so much about racism nor war. his speech was about poverty. he said the constitution was a promissory note, to which all of us would fall heir.
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when men and women of color presented their check at the bank of justice, it came back marked insufficient funds. he said he knew that was not the end. 50 years later, we are still here, trying to cash that bad check. 50 years later, we are still dealing with all kinds of problems. we are not here to claim any victory. we are here to simply say that the struggle continues. a long time ago, when things would get difficult, ralph at say, i don't know what the future may hold. but i know who holds the future. and martin would say that the ark of the universe bends towards justice. god beneath the shadows, keeping watch above his own.
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i want to say to you this morning -- i want to say -- ? i got a feeling everything's got a be all right ?i got a feeling everything is going tobe alright. i've got a feeling everything is going to be alright be alright be alright ♪ pray on, stay on, fight on. [applause] >> please welcome robbie novak, national parks service director jonathan jarvis, and the mayor of washington, d.c., vincent gray.
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>> i wasn't here 50 years ago, but i hope to be in the next 50 years. we have a duty to make sure the world keeps dreaming for better things. keep dreaming, keep dreaming, keep dreaming. >> in the summer of 1963, the civil rights movement was reaching its crescendo. a march on washington became one of its defining moments. there are countless photographs of that historic day. one shows a pair of national
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park service rangers standing by dr. king on the steps of the lincoln memorial. the image captures a small moment in a great event, but speaks volumes about the role of the national park service. we are here, we will always be here as the guardians of the american story. we gather today admits the greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in the country -- amidst the greatest concentration of american monuments anywhere in the country. at each you will find a familiar national park service arrowhead, and the distinctive ranger's
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flat hat. we are there to welcome visitors, answer questions, and take care of these treasured places, to preserve the american stories they represent and the aspirations that bind us together as a people. the places are now reserved as national parks across our nation. the first women's rights convention in seneca, new york. the edmund pettis bridge and the long road from selma to montgomery. the home and office of cesar chavez. little rock, brown v board. the power of these places is to inspire each generation to have a dream and the courage to make it a reality. national park service's fundamental mission is to keep a promise to the american people, that the ideas that shape us as a nation, the principles we strive to uphold, the values we fought and died for will be preserved forever. we are very proud of the two
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rangers who stood on the steps 50 years ago. they will forever connect the national park service to the march on washington. my promise to you today is that we will protect these, and all the places entrusted to our care, to the highest standard of stewardship. we will also use them to inspire the next generation to create a more perfect union. thank you, and welcome. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. on behalf of the 632,000 residents of the district of columbia, allow me to welcome you to our nation's capital. 50 years ago today, in his timeless "i have a dream" speech, dr. king borrowed a lyric from one of our favorite patriotic songs.
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?let freedom ring." from stone mountain of georgia, and every hill of mississippi. there was one place that dr. king did not mention, about which he later spoke of. that was the district of columbia. that is because full freedom and democracy were and are still denied to the people who quite literally live within the site of the capitol dome.
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our city is home to more residents than the state of vermont and wyoming. but we have no voting representative in our own congress. we pay more than $3.5 billion a year in federal taxes. we don't even get the final say over how we spend our own locally raised money. we send our sons and daughters to fight for democracy overseas, but don't get to practice it fully here at home. today, as we remember those who gave so much have a century ago to extend the blessings of liberty to all americans, i implore and hope that all of you will stand with me when i say that we must let freedom ring from mount saint alban, where rises the majestic national cathedral. we must let freedom ring from
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the bridges of anacostia. we must let freedom ring from capitol hill itself, until all of the residents of the very seat of our great democracy are truly free. again, let me welcome you to our nation's capital, the district
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of columbia. please join hands with us and make every american free, especially those who live in the district of columbia, our nation's capital. >> minister and vocal artist. >> let freedom ring. let it ring. i believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows. i believe that somewhere in the someonenightthat falls ? will vomcome to show the way ♪ i believe i believe ♪ the smallest spread will still
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be there. i believe that someone in that great somewhere is everywhere. ♪ every time i hear a newborn baby cry touch the sky then i know i i believe ♪ i believe above the storm, the smallest thread will still be there i believe that someone in that
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great somewhere is everywhere. everytime i hear a newborn baby cry or touch the leaves or see the sky then i know i ♪ ♪ believe ♪ everytime i hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf of see the sky ♪ that i know i believe ♪
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believe ♪ >> these welcome the honorable angus king, u.s. senator from honorable angus king, u.s. senator from maine. >> 50 years ago, americans marched to this face. they came from the north east, west, midwest. they came from the south.
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they came by rail, they came by bus. they came by car. one even roller skated here from chicago. they slept the night before in buses, in cars, on friend's floors, and in churches. 50 years ago this morning, we started in small rivulets of people on the sidestreets of this great city. we joined together in larger streams moving toward the main arteries of washington. then we came together in a mighty river of people down to this place. old, young, black, white, protestant, catholic, and you -- jew. we stopped at the washington monument and heard peter, paul,
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and mary sing of the hammer of justice and the bill of freedom. -- bell of freedom. americans came to this place around a radical idea, an idea at the heart of the american experience. an idea new to the world and in 1976, tested in 1865, renewed in 1963, and an idea still new and radical today. all men and women are created equal. all men and women are created equal. 50 years ago, at this place, at this sacred place, americans sent a message to their leaders and around the world that the promise of a quality, of opportunity, equality before the
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law, equality in the right to freely participate in the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship applied to everyone in this country. not just the lucky few of the right color or the accident of birth. this is what martin luther king meant when he said that his dream was deeply rooted in the american dream. 100 50 years ago, 150 years ago this summer a mighty battle was
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fought not far from this place. this idea, the idea of equality, the idea of america hung in the balance. one of the soldiers on those hot july days was a young college professor from maine named joshua lawrence chamberlain. returning to the battlefield at gettysburg many years later, he expressed the power of the place where such momentous deeds were done. here is what he said. here is what joshua chamberlain said. in great deeds, something
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abides. on great fields, something stays. forms change and path bodies disappear, but spirits linger to consecrate the ground for the vision place of souls. generations that no was not, and that we know not of, to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them shall come to this deathless field, to this deathless place to ponder and dream. and lo, the shadow of a mighty presence will wrap them in its it was him -- bosom, and the power of the vision shall pass into their souls. 50 years ago today, this place was a battlefield. no shots were fired. no canon's roared. a battlefield nonetheless. a battlefield of ideas. the ideas that define us as a nation. as it was once said of church held, martin luther king --
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churchill, martin luther king mobilized the english language and marched into war. in the process, caught the conscience of the nation. here today on these steps, 50 years on, indeed something abides. the power of the vision has surely passed into our souls. [applause] >> please welcome the mayor of hattiesburg, johnny depree. >> i want to thank the national conference of black mayors, and the coalitions for the opportunity to make a few remarks on this occasion. the kids and decades ago, blood, sweat, tears, organizing
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meetings, negotiations and adjudications all culminated in a march 50 years ago. in march that would change the lives of millions of people, including myself. if someone would've told me that this little country boy who grew up on a dirt road in hattiesburg, mississippi would become a mayor, i would have fallen off a truck. my house and my cousin's house were next-door. we call that house a shotgun house. you may have had the opportunity to take a bath in a number 310. i did that. that's where i come from. playing with rocks because my mom could not afford the ball. to become the mayor of the fourth-largest city in
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mississippi. we have been entrusted with making the lives of people better that we serve. our theme is, freedom to prosper, coexist, govern. african-americans, elected officials and black mayors in particular must not create ways to govern after being elected. for a brief period of time, during reconstruction, african- americans held elected office. jim crow quickly ended that. one of the challenges before african-americans, minorities, and women is the freedom to govern. we must do locally what president obama was able to do nationally, and go back to the individuals, groups, pastors who helped get us here and encourage
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them to make their voices heard and push our collective agendas forward. we are afforded an awesome opportunity to be here today. we have this opportunity because of people like martin luther king, who did not quiver or retreat in the face of injustice. it is because of those who demanded to remain seated when they were asked to move. it is because of those who marched on, even though they were weary and bloodied. one foot in front of the other. one song after another. one city, and to late did what people said could not be done. -- until they did what people said could not be done.
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we will march on. thank you. ♪applause]
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many times the answer my friends is blowing in the wind. it is blowing in the wind. the answer my friends is the dancer is the wind blowing in the wind. how many years can a face this?
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answer my friend is blowing in the wind. the answer is blowing in the wind. answers blowing in the wind.
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. lookany times can a man up before he sees the sky? must one man die before he can ♪ the answer my friend is blowing in the wind. ♪ is blwoingmy friend in the wind.
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the answer is blowing in the wind. ♪ >> one of the central goals of the march on washington 50 years ago was to secure the right to vote. this year, the supreme court struck down a key provision of the 1965 voting rights act. our next guest fully understands the impact of the court's decision.
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lee's join me in welcoming charles steele junior, president and ceo of the southern christian leadership conference, and melanie campbell, president and ceo of the national coalition of black civic participation. >> thank you so much. i am honored to be here today on this great occasion. 50 years ago, i was a 17-year- old boy in tuscaloosa, alabama, where my mother and father told me something great was getting ready to happen. i could not play ball that
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particular day. it was a historical event, she said. it's going to change not only america, but the world. and then i began to listen to dr. king. i realized that dr. king advocated for poor people. if dr. king was here today, i would ask them the question if he was satisfied with the representation of poor people. i came to the conclusion that he would be very upset and very disturbed. he would say that, jobs, we don't have anybody lobbying for poor folks. and it is because of the lack of people who are concerned about the needs of these people who are suffering. he was saying that we must still
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hit the streets. we must still demonstrate. now we must go back to ground zero. we must continue to march. we must continue to pray. through that experience, the whole world is saying, teachers, my brothers and sisters. teach us how to get free. freedom ain't free because we must still fight for freedom. are you ready to march? are you ready to demonstrate? we must head back to the streets and liberate and free all of god's children. love is what love does. we must free the people. thank you so much.
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>> today we join elder bernice king in solidarity in her vision of a manifestation of her father's stream -- dream, the freedom to prosper in life, the freedom to peacefully coexist, and the freedom to participate in government. today we also pause to think our ancestors and forbearers who stood on these steps 50 years ago, calling for jobs and freedom. tomorrow we take dr. king's dream and vision of our elders to the next level by igniting a new movement for jobs, freedom, peace, and social justice.
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as i look at the state of equality and justice today, we are at a very critical moment in time. our elders have taken us this far. now it is time for us to move forward in the fight for equality and justice. we have made progress over the past 50 years, but we have not arrived. it is time to step it up and get busy. just as in 1963 there are still those who are threatened by exclusion, today racism and inequality does not manifest itself in a white sheet, jim
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crow laws, poll taxes, or barking dogs. but the dogs are still biting in other ways. today, there are no white sheets. but there are judges in black robes in the u.s. supreme court who struck down section four of the voting rights act, opening the floodgates for many states to pass more voter id laws, with the goal of ensuring we never see another black man or woman elected president. today, as i did on saturday at
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the 50th march on washington, i just dropped by to tell you, and just to remind you it is movement time. the daughter of janet campbell, mentored by dorothy irene height as a take my seat, i leave you with the words of agile brand off. at the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. you get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. if you can't take anything, you won't get anything. if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. >> the honorable watching castro joaquin castro. >> it's an honor to be here with you today. i, as the son of the great state of texas, the home to the president as -- who signed the most sweeping civil rights legislation in our history. i also speak to you as someone of a grateful generation, grateful for the struggles and the movement and the blood and tears and work of the civil rights pioneers who stood here
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50 years ago today, and those who marched in the streets of selma come of those who organized, people in factories and farms, those who took their battles to the courts like thurgood marshall. those who organized, those such as willie velasquez. my own parents in the 1960's were involved in a movement inspired by martin luther king and the men and women who stood here. they were active in the chicano movement, for the latino civil rights movement. i want to say thank you to them, and thank you to all of you. i also want to make a promise to
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you. as somebody of a younger generation of americans, i want to promise you that all of the struggles and all of the fights and all of the year so you put into making our country a better place, to helping our leaders understand that freedom and democracy are prerequisites to opportunity -- this generation of americans will not let that dream go. we will carry on, and make sure that this country lives up to the values and principles for which you fought so hard. thank you very much. [applause] >> please welcome perry christie, prime minister from the commonwealth of the bahamas. >> greetings from the bahamas. martin luther king jr. holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of bahamians, not
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least because he spent time amongst us, both in nassau and the tiny island of bimini, where in 1964 while on a brief vacation, he composed his nobel prize acceptance speech. on a clear night, the lights of metropolitan miami are visible from the shores of bimini, showing the closeness between our two nations. we are less than 50 miles apart. however close that may be in the literal sense, we are in the geography of the soul even closer than that. the common ties of history, ethnicity and culture, migration, a common heritage of touggle bind us together.
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stand up for dignity. to stand up for a quality. for the message that he areaaims and the heroic that explained why he is as relevant today as compelling today as inspirational today as he was 50 years ago.
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we knew that his messes was that wasom a place deeper than us all. he had a call to the place and one rousing us from our slumber so that we could take our own inner soundings and in so doing he gave language to our deepest journey for a better life. martin luther king's work remains unfinished. this must then be for us a time not only for renewal, but above all, a profoundly personal loan will and the most authentic way possible, a time of weak dedication to the dream that martin champion all his life. the the light of the flame
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continue to guide us as we go forward, each in his own way, to continue the work of martin luther king. in that way, and in no other way, we keep his dream alive and make it our own. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, from the commonwealth of the bahamas, the number one expression of the crown of the people, the soul ♪nd spirit. ♪
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♪ ♪
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[applause] >> please welcome sole rights activist and journalist mayor lee evans williams. >> 50 years ago, we gathered in
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this very same spot. we felt, in the words of another mississippian, new hammer, i am sick and tired of being sick and tired. and i do believe that is what the crowd some 50 years ago was saying to all of our leaders. dr. king and took the helm, and under his leadership, and under those who gave their lives such as medgar evers and so many others, said enough is enough, america. this is our country, all of us. we belong here. and here we are, some 50 years
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later, assessing what has happened over this period of time. where we are and what we must do. for a brief period of time, i think we fell asleep and we said, we have moved forward and everything is ok, but we know today that everything is not ok, that there has been a retrenchment in this country as far as civil rights and equal rights is concerned. we marched, we sat, the triumphs and even the defeats along to us all.
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dr. king told us that he might not get to the mountaintop with us, but he said that there is a promised land, and america is that promised land for all of us. we are bounded by deep roots of the individuals that inevitably become a strong group to be reckoned with, and our strength is in our numbers. in today's world, there is emphasis on individuality. how can i reach my top? i am sure no matter how strong any one person may be, they may be strengthened with strong support from each other, encouragement and guidance from those of us who have walked the path. the movement can no longer afford an individual approach to
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justice. ours is an interconnected struggle. blacks, whites, male, female, young, old, everyone. we are all in titled to, and protected by this country that we call home. at times, it is necessary that we let those who represent us on capitol hill, those who represent us in our communities, knowing that we are a force to be reckoned with. many of our messages today target today's youth and our elders. i look specifically at those new parents, our young professionals, youthful educators, and community activists. they are young enough to relate, but also established in our community, and i ask you, how will we bridge that gap? what are our next steps? because this country, in the
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area of civil rights, has certainly taken a turn backwards. am i depressed? no. i am energized to move forward and to be sure to see the gains that we have encountered and had to come to us, that we have had to work so hard for, are not lost. so i do ask you, one of our next steps, we created a framework, but there is so much work to be done. many of our civil rights leaders, including my husband and dr. martin luther king, were still of an age when they took the lead. with that question and mind, i challenge you to get back to community building. it is your problem, it is our problem, it is our neighborhood. these are our children, you are the parents. but in that same breath, and
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victory will be a collective one. it is with a clear conscience, knowing what we have done and can do, that we will reach that mountaintop, and we will overcome. but it will take each and every one of us, in unity, in unison, letting those who say that they managed this country of america know that it is the people. it is the voice and the actions of the people that say, we must overcome, and eventually say, we have overcome, because of the involvement of each and everyone. that is our challenge today. let us move for and do what we must do, remembering freedom is not free.
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we must work for it. [applause] >> peaceful coexistence was a hallmark of dr. king's teachings. he said we must learn to get to live as brothers or perish as fools. welcome the rev. christian stone, and the president of asian american advancing justice. >> greetings from the fellowship of reconciliation, working since 1915 to secure a world of justice and freedom from through nonviolence. today, 50 years after the march on washington, i pay tribute to the visionary organizer of the original march by rustin. as a fellowship of reconciliation staff, rustin co- founded and organized the first
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freedom ride in 1947. an african-american gay man, rustin was a quaker. his life commitment to nonviolence as a spiritual discipline exemplifies that pacifism is anything but passive. he pursuit -- refused to accept more by denying society's expectations that he be straight. he refused to be at war with another nation by being in prison as a conscientious objector during world war ii, and he refused to be at war with humanity by not accepting diminishment or division based on race. in every situation, rustin rejected violence, conflicts, and strife, and instead showed peace. he and rev. james lawson, another staffer, are credited
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with convincing rev. dr. king early on that nonviolence had to be the path to freedom. and so, on this day, how can we pay tribute to this legacy of of nonviolence and peace, to dr. king's refusal to see another as enemy, as we are poised to attack syria? rustin and king showed us, over and over, racism, militarism, and economic exploitation are inextricably linked. so on behalf of all people of conscience, i call on our leaders to do all in our power to resist the siren song of militarism, and increase the way of rustin, cain, the way of nonviolence and peace. thank you. [applause]
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>> i was born in a thatched roof hut in the jungles of laos where there was no running water or electricity. my father was a medic working with u.s. aid during the secret war in laos. when the wars ended in southeast asia, we were forced to flee our homes and became political refugees. thanks to president carter and vice president mondale, my family was resettled in the united states. only in the america of dr. king's dream is it possible for someone like me to stand before you today. i think dr. king would be proud. in fact, so very proud, dr. bernice king, then you have invited me and the communities that i represent, the asian and
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pacific islander community, to take part in this commemoratives celebration. so i believe that while dr. king's conversation with america speaks to and still rings true today, about the creative sufferings of black america, his dream is inclusive of all america, and his call to action in lights each america, asia and america, black america, hispanic americans, native america, lgbt america, to take inspiration from our own circumstances, and to know that the price of freedom is the commitment to ensuring the security of liberty and justice for all. [applause] >> please welcome governor martin o'malley. [applause]
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>> the work of justice is urgent. it is a real, and it is needed. let there be no comfort in our country for the bigotry of cold indifference, for there are still too many lives in america taken from us by violence. still too many children in america who go to bed hungry, who go to school hungry. still too much apathy when the lives of people of color are too often down the less than the lives of white people. and so, the responsibility we consecrate today is not rooted in a staunch or memory, it is rooted in something start -- far deeper. it is rooted in the calling of conscience to action.
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actions to protect every individual's right to vote. action that safeguards and keeps guns out of hands of violent offenders. action that makes quality education and the opportunity of college a reality for more families. action that protect the dignity of every child's home with civil marriage equality. action that strengthens our country with the hopes and dreams and hard work of our newest generation of new american immigrants. action that abolishes the death penalty and improve public safety in every neighborhood, regardless of income or color. action that creates jobs and raises the minimum wage for every mom and dad who is willing to work hard and play by the rules.
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yes, thanks to dr. king, america's best days are still ahead of us. love remains the strongest power in our country. forward we shall walk, hand in hand. and in this great work, we are not afraid. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, grammy- nominated and five-time a warning -- winning female vocalist of the year, natalie grant. ♪ >> i love the lord he heard my cry
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every groan as long as i live in trouble i will hang to you i am going to run to his throne i love lord i really do love the lord he heard my cry
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he heard every groan as long as i live and troubles run high am going to run to his throne i am going to run to his throne
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when life gets me down, when troubles come my way i am going to get myself jesus he is the way, the truth, the life nobody loves me like jesus i love the lord and i will hang on to his every word ?
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[applause] >> please welcome the chair of the american association of people with disabilities, fred moss. >> i am humbled to be here with all of you today. i am a proud american with a disability. i want to first thank the president for 503, which will give thousands of jobs to people with disabilities. 33 years ago, just a few days before starting college, i'd go from a boat and hit a sand bar and a foot of water. i broke my neck and was paralyzed from the chest down. in that instant, my life and the lives of my family changed forever. i spent seven months in hospital undergoing intensive physical therapy, learning how to be
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independent. when i left the hospital to begin my new life, college remained out of reach. the campus was not accessible. i thought the doors to fulfilling life had slammed shut. it was 10 years before the americans with disabilities act. i was unable to access most public buildings. i was banned from most public swimming pools. i was told there are no jobs for people like me. i could not even get on a bus. it was rare to see a person like me in the community. we referred to as shut-ins. fortunately, a university in delaware was welcoming, i adapted to make it more accessible, and i was the first chair user to attend and
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graduate. my first job was in a two-story building, and yes, my office was on the second floor. every day i was carried, chair and all, up the stairs, to get to work. in the years since my accident, i have dedicated my life to expanding equal opportunity for all americans. today i do this as chair of the american association of people with disabilities, the nation's largest off disability rights organization. i also do this in my role as vice president of the comcast foundation. today, we need your help to pass the disability treaty, the treaty to expand the spirit of the americans with disabilities act across the globe, level the playing field for u.s. businesses working abroad, and increased access for u.s. citizens traveling overseas. we will never know how many, i can say with certainty, there were people who wanted to join the march on washington 50 years ago but could not because participating was either too difficult or simply impossible for people like me. there was just no access. looking back, it is fair to say martin luther king jr. was the father of our movement as well. dr. king had a dream about equality and dignity for all people. for millions of people with disabilities, this dream remained out of reach.
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eight in 10 do not have jobs. most will never know what it means to work, even if we are willing and qualified. it remains legal to pay people with disabilities far less than the minimum wage. today, i share dr. king's dream. i dream of a world that does not hold anyone back. people with disabilities represent all people in all situations. we represent nearly 20% of the u.s. population. we have seen a lot of progress, but like all civil rights movement, we have much to do. i call on everyone here today to continue to stand up for and defend the rights of people with disabilities. americans are guaranteed certain inalienable rights, the right to pursue our dreams. our duty as citizens is to help one another achieve those dreams. please go to aapd.com/march to see what we can do to get and when we dream together. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> in 1963, dr. king called on america to make good on its promise of opportunity and freedom and justice for all. 50 years later, the struggle for jobs, justice, and freedom continues. please welcome the naacp board chair roslyn brock, and president and ceo of the naacp ben jealous. [applause] >> good morning. a march on washington for jobs and freedom 50 years ago was a march for equality and opportunity.
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while we commemorate the march today with a drum major shared his dream, we at the naacp did acknowledge that our organizing days are not over, they are beginning anew. the naacpers did not come to washington 50 years ago to simply march, hold up signs, and go home. the power and depth of their witness is magnified by the fact that they return home and organized, believing that we are one nation, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all. in a 1966 speech to the committee for human rights, dr. king said, "of all the forms of inequality, in justice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." freedom for all americans to
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access form -- affordable, quality health care is one of the most pressing civil rights issues for this generation. the supreme court has issued its decision. the people have spoken. the affordable care act is a lot of the land. [applause] our communities have the opportunity starting october 1, to enroll in a new health care insurance marketplace. we must ensure, my friends, that all americans are aware that we can now change the face of health in this nation. opponents of fairness resist our noble cause. however, we are determined in our hearts and declare to the world, that when it comes to health equity and access, courage will not skip this generation. thank you.
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[applause] >> fired up! fired up! ladies and gentlemen, as we stand here, 50 years after the march on washington, let us remember that dr. king's last march was never finished. the poor people's campaign was never finished. some 50 years after the march on washington, while fewer people as a percentage in our country are poor, more as a number in our country are poor.
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while the ladder of opportunity extends to the heavens for our people today, more are tethered at the bottom and fallen off every day. indeed, one could say that the distance between a child's aspiration represented by the top of that letter, and a family's situation at the bottom of the latter, it is the exact measurement of that parents level of frustration. so as we go home today, let us remember the dreamer was also a doer. and as we turn on our tvs tomorrow and we see people walking out of places where they are being forced to survive on $7.25, by the thousands, let us join them in their fight to lift up the bottom. at the top of that ladder, it has extended, but the tenders at the bottom must be unleashed. let us not just be dreamers that say. let us commit to being doers.
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thank you, and god bless. >> from destiny church, new zealand, please welcome a performance. ? [speaking in a foreign language] [speaking in foreign-language]
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[speaking in foreign-language]
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[applause] >> civil-rights leader, reverend joseph lowery. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. fired up! i cannot hear you. fired up? now i can hear you, thank you. i am thankful for a day for a nation that, after 50 years, is committed to being a nation of liberty and justice for all, and that we hold in the deepest reference -- reverence, the principles of freedom and
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justice for all. i am thankful today that we have a president who understands what martin luther king meant when he said, we must rise up from the basement of race and color to the higher ground of content of character. i am glad we have a president who joined with martin luther king in calling upon this nation to rise up and leave the basement of race and color, and come to the higher ground of content of character. we join in prayer for a nation that, strangely enough, continues to seek to deny rights, and restrict freedom in the right to vote. we come today, 50 years later,
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it is even stranger that there are men and forces that still seek to restrict our boat and deny our full participation. well, we come here to washington to say, we ain't going back. we ain't goin back. we have come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard. whipped too bitterly. bled too profusely. and died too young. to let anyone turn back the clock on our journey of justice. [applause] thank you for the privilege of
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sharing these moments with you. i see a man walking out on the stage signaling my time is up. god bless you, and god keep you. hang in there. fired up? fired up? ready to go. [applause] >> dr. king's dream was for a brighter future, a future where everyone was free to prosper and live in harmony. joining us now are two champions of a better life for all. the chair person of the captain planet foundation, laura turner and the executive director of the gay and lesbian and street education director. >> as we stand here today, united on this historic
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anniversary, i am reflecting on the courage that thousands of people showed by putting their lives, and the lives of their families in harm's way as they fought for civil and human rights. i am thankful to my friend reverend dr. bernice king, and the king family, for inviting me here. i am thankful for them, continuing on that path, that rocky path, to freedom and justice for all in the united states and around the world. i am not only here to commemorate this auspicious occasion, but to speak about another form of injustice. we are degrading. the lives of our children and health of our planet. no one knows this better than my congressman and hero rev. john lewis. he is not only a fierce civil rights activist, but he is also a staunch environmental champion.
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he has said the environmental movement is an extension of civil and human rights. and that is because the least of these, and our children everywhere, are the most impacted -- adversely impacted, disproportionately impacted. there is no justice in a world where powerful people and corporations can affect the lives of every man, woman, and child. one of the themes today is the freedom to prosper. but our children cannot prosper if we continue to destroy the natural systems that support all of our lives. our children cannot prosper when
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they are second from exposure to a toxic cocktail of chemicals that are unregulated and untested in the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, and the products they use. and our children, and their children, cannot prosper when they face a future of record temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather. unless we work together, we will be handing our children problems that they cannot solve. and time is running out. we have a moral mandate to protect and to preserve our children's health, quality of life, and their future, and we have a moral mandate to be good stewards of all the blessings god has given to us. millions of people around the world will be ringing their bells, and i say, let's bring our bell for clean water, clean air, healthy children, environmental justice, and
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freedom. [applause] >> 50 years ago, bayard ruxton stood on the stage leading the crown, reciting the march on washington, a movement spoke through him, but the world would not embrace him because he was gay. today, lgbt voices are welcomed to this stage, and president obama has awarded bayard rustin the presidential medal of freedom. but we have not yet seen dr. king's opportunity thrown open to everyone.
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we have so far to go before a truly great education is offered to every child. listen to our community and partners in the fight. we fight for millions of lgbt students and all those seen as different. they deserve a welcoming audience for their dream, and they deserve to be embraced for who they are, yet, every day, our youth in doors the silence imposed by violence and fear. some have been silenced forever, and we raise our voices in their memory. zakiya gund, gwen aroyyo, carl joseph walker hoover, lawrence kane.
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bayard rustin was a quaker. he attended meetings each week listening to the voice of the divine that could speak to anyone of us. across this nation, of voices are ready to rise for opportunity and justice and freedom for every young person, no matter who they are, what did look like, or who they love. listen for those forces. lift them up so that they can be heard. when we do that, we shall all rise. thank you for the great honor of standing with you today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, five- time nba most a valuable player, bill russell.
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[applause] >> good afternoon. it is nice to be here. i was sitting in the first row, 50 years ago, and it is nice to be anywhere 50 years later. [laughter] 50 years ago, the night before the march, i met dr. king, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. he invited me to be up here, and i respectfully declined because the organizers had worked for years to get this together, and i have not done anything. so i wanted to continue my life as an interested bystander.
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lately, i have heard a lot about how far we have come in 50 years. but from my point of view, you only register progress by how far you have to go. i did not have anything to say anyway. [laughter] i am here to join you and to implore you. the fight has just begun. we can never accept the status quo, until the word progress is taken out of our vocabulary.
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and so, i thank you for being here, and to encourage you, young and old, men and women, to understand that progress can only be measured by how far we have to go. so i want to thank you for letting me speak to you, and to encourage you, as we used to say in the projects, keep on keeping on. thank you. [applause]
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>> dr. martin luther king believed in the power of organized labor to help fight poverty. the labor movement, dr. king said movement"was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress." please welcome two die-hard champions of american workers. the president of the a. philip randolph institute, and leigh saunders, the president of the afl-cio. [applause] >> in 1963, a philip randolph's opening remarks were, we hear today are only the first wave. when we leave, it will be to carry on the civil-rights revolution back home, and to every nook and cranny of this land. hello, freedom family. i am clayola brown, president of the a. philippe randolph institute. here we are 50 years later, a
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second wave, standing ready to carry on the revolution, ready to fight for jobs and freedom. standing ready to advance the struggles of a shared prosperity and equality for all of god's children. this is our charge. dr. kane said human progress is neither a automatic, nor inevitable. every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle. and i know you have heard it before but i will say it again, because it comes from our founder, a. philip randolph, that at the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. you get when you take and you keep what you hold. if you cannot take anything, you will not get anything. if you cannot hold anything, you
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will not keep anything. and you cannot take anything without organization. we must organize. we must organize. we must organize. [applause] >> good afternoon. i am so proud to represent the 1.6 million members of the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees, all the service workers whose labor touches communities throughout this nation. i stood with dr. king in 1963 when he called on america to be true to its principles. five years later, dr. king stood with me when the sanitation workers of local 1733 demanded justice, dignity, and respect. the attorney for civil-rights
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workers rights, and economic rights began almost the moment america was born. it gained new momentum on these steps 50 years ago. and it advances whenever the disenfranchised and disillusioned stand up, fight back, and march forward. because our struggle continues, we come to this memorial not only to commemorate the past, but to shape the future. we have the power to carry the determination, and the hope and passion of the march on washington forward. we must also have had the courage. we must also have the courage. in the name of dr. king, a. philip randolph, bayard rustin, congressman john lewis, dorothy height, on behalf of those whose names will never be known, we must recommit to the struggle as stewards of a nation that
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belongs to the rich and poor, to the ceo and a sanitation worker, and those with and those without. we have the responsibility to build on a legacy that has been left to us all. we must protect the most fundamental rights we have, the right to vote. we must ensure corporate forces will never be silent. we must fight for good jobs and decent pay. and we must become a just and fair society of our ideals. above all, we must uphold the principle that everyone who contributes to the prosperity of this nation should share in the prosperity of our nation. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome the u.s.
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representative from maryland's fourth district, the honorable donna edwards. >> i represent maryland's fourth congressional district. as the first african-american woman to represent maryland in the house of representatives, on behalf of my sisters in congress, i am stan too proud -- proud to stand here today with other courageous women. i am proud to stand on the shoulders of our domestic workers and to be wrapped in the arms of free four little girls in a birmingham church and the chicago teenager on vacation in mississippi. it is a new day 50 years later and a better day, but the day is not over. today struggle for civil rights, social justice, and economic opportunity to man our engagement and our voice. to realize fully our dream we must raise our voices and take action. we must lift our voices to challenge government and our community and neighbors to be
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better. we must lift our voices for wages that enable families to take care of themselves, for a health care system that erases disparities, for communities and homes without violence, for clean air and water to protect our environment for future generations, and for a just justice system. we must lift our voice for the value of our boat and have our votes counted without interference. as we stand here today, dr. king would know, and john lewis certainly knows, that today is not just a commemoration or celebration. it is a call to action for the work remains undone in the communities that remain unchanged. our foremothers and forefathers 50 years ago closed the books on the last century. well, when the book closes on the 21st century and civil- rights, which chapter will you have written? what fight will you have fought in the halls of congress or on the town halls of your community?
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for men and women, black and white, latino, asian, muslim, christian, jew, gay, straight, i hope this includes you. the final chapter must include your voice to ensure dr. king's dream. they cannot be written without you. [applause] >> please welcome alan van capel. >> 50 years ago, a rabbi said -- stood on the steps with dr. king and began his remarks by saying, i speak to you as an american jew. i speak to you today as an american jew. i represent the jewish civil rights group bend the arc, and the organization that collectively make of the jewish social justice roundtable.
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the vision dr. king offered us 50 years ago was not only a dream. it was a call for equality, but it was also a demand for justice. we may be closer to legal equality, but we are far, far, we are farstice. from justice when young matt -- young lack men can be frisked and disrespected on the streets of new york city. we are far from justice when students carrying the burden of loans. we are far from justice when 11 million agreements -- million immigrantswork every single day without her texans and a pathway to citizenship. and we are far from justice when a gay, lesbian, or transgender person can be fired for their job simply because of who they are. we are far from justice when we accept the fact that the rich
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are getting richer and the poor keep having poor and when we go to bed each night, allowing anti-american child to go to bed hungry. yes, the moral arc of the universe is long and it does, in fact, bend towards justice but it does not bend on its own. it tends because of people like baird rustin and andrew goodman, and james chaney, and mickey schwerner. it bends because of you and me. we make the arc bend and for many of us, it's not bending fast enough. every year we recall how moses led his people out of slavery and to the promised land but the desert came first. jews believe the only way to the promised land is through the desert. there is no way to get from here to there without marching and organizing together. as i look out on the small with people so diverse and passions
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and so bonded together by shared values, i have hope today that we will, in fact, know that the edge of our desert is near and that the promised land is in sight.[applause] >> how is everybody doing out there? we will not let the rain stop us. in communities across this nation, there are people who are suffering and in need and dr. king once said " lice most persistent question and urgent question is what are you doing for others?" joining us now are two advocates of civil engagement -- these welcome the chair of the national council of negro women, ingrid saunders jones and a great brother who happens to be
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the general president of the greatest fraternity in the world, the fraternity that has members such as jesse owens, thurgood marshall, dr. martin luther king jr., and hill harper. mark tillman. >> good afternoon. the national council of negro women led by dorothy irene height was very much involved in the historic march on washington. it is an honor for me to be here to represent the thousands of ncnw ?members and all of the other women who participated in that march. dr. hite worked closely with the leaders of the big six. that was the day that dr. king told us of his dream for his children and for all of our
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children. what we can be sure of is that dr. king was focused on the nation's foundation, our quest to form a more perfect union. at our birth, america was a nation of people actively involved in creating a place of freedom and democracy. the principles expressed in the preamble, those simple but powerful words are the same principles which undergird the question for civil, human, and gender rights. america is distinguished by its commitment to democracy, democracy whose core ingredients include justice, peace, well-
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being, equality. our quest for a perfect model of democracy that more perfect union, continues. our personal civic responsibility and engagement will determine how well our democracy will work so we come together today just as was done 50 years go, to remind us of the need to be fully aware of and actively engaged in our communities and their government at every level. remember the children of the 60s movement led us to today and are our leaders today. i am sure that we have seen and will hear from the children who will be the leaders of tomorrow. thank you. >> good afternoon.
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i am honored, humbled, and quite frankly awestruck to be standing on sacred soil where 50 years ago, people came on buses, by cars, and some even walked to be a part of this historic event with a unity unseen before in the fight for civil rights. on this day, we are progressing with a mandate that was a eloquently set for america. we are wrapped in the legacy of great individuals that recognize we cannot afford generations becoming ill prepared to rise above individual concerns, ill prepared to live with understanding and goodwill, and that the meaning of stand your ground does not get you buried under the ground. and we are here to honor a man that anchored this movement, who
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dared to dream the rights of all men and women are equal, who defied him told practices that would discriminate terry and that -- that were discriminatory and inhumane and mobilize the nation that actions would eventually ring a better life. dr. martin luther king jr. was a proud member of alpha phi alpha incorporated and we are proud to have led the initiative to old the memorial in his honor. on this historic occasion, we honor my fraternity brother who stands in the nations capital on hallowed ground with presidents of this country, forever remaining watchful and guarding the halls of democracy. commemorating the march on washington for jobs and freedom
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underscores our collective strength, influence, and unity. america may have progressed with the elections of a black president and may soon follow with the election of a female president but we must not be distracted by the burning realization that our journey is still challenging and that race and class still have a great distance to go. all of us are the beneficiaries of the legacy to show our children that they can dream with confidence and realizing their most highest hopes and aspirations. let's continue to march for their freedom. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, doloresguerta. >> we are being blessed with the rain, yes we are. we are here to celebrate all of the wonderful benefits with all receive from the civil rights movement and chicano movement. we honor the sacrifices and the lives of those that gave their lives so we can have these benefits.
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we want to honor caretta scott king for all of the work she did to get that martin luther king holiday, the national holiday -- we want to honor your lawn the king for all that she did on behalf of women and children to stop abuses of both. dr. king said on this very stage " go back to your communities, go back to the south, go back to the north because we've got to continue to organize and fulfill that dream." if we don't do it, it's not going to happen. the only way that discrimination is going to end against people of color, against women, against our lg bt community is if we do it which means we've got to outreach to those who are not with us. we've got to educate them. we got to mobilize them. we got to motivate them. that is the only way it can happen. i am going to ask all of you --
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who has the power? let's say it loud and clear -- we've got the power/ who's got the power? i'm going to say what kind of power? just say people power. what kind of power? all right, we can do it, yes we can. let's also it is altogether -- yes we can. put your hands up everybody like this. we will all clap together and in spanish we will say si, se puede which means we can. and - >> please welcome leann rimes. ♪
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amazing grace. how sweet the sound that lies behind me. i was lost but now i am found. ♪ was lost but now i see there 10,000en years. bright shining as the sun
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♪ we've no last day praise thing than when we first begun ♪ ♪ grace how swee thet the sound that saved a wretch like me ♪ was lost
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foundw i'm now i seebut ♪ [applause] >> one more time for leann rimes. we've made considerable progress in the last 50 years. but many of the problems that plague our communities back then still challenge us today. here to tell us where we go from here is a man who i have a great deal of respect for, the president and ceo of the national urban league, mark moria.
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>> good afternoon fellow americans. i stand today on the shoulders of martin luther king, whitney young, john lewis, a philip randolph, and the many great leaders of 1963 who sacrificed, who marched, who demonstrated courage and bravery in the face of attack so that we can be here today. i stand as a representative of the next generation that has had the opportunity to walk into corporate boardrooms, walk into city hall's and county halls, into halls of justice, into the
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justice department and, yes, into 1600 pennsylvania avenue. solely because of the sacrifices and the bravery of those whose names we remember and those we don't. i stand here today to call on this great and mighty nation to wake up.
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wake up to unfair legalities parading as morality. wake up to insensitivity to the poor masked as fiscal austerity. wake up to politics without a positive purpose. it is time america to wake up. 50 years ago, that sleeping giant was awakened. but somewhere along the way, we dozed. we have been quelled by the lullaby of false prosperity and the marrakesh of economic -- and number roger the economic equality. we fell into a slumber and somewhere along the way, white sheets were traded for button- down white shirts. attack dogs and water hoses were traded for tasters and widespread implementation of stop and frisk policies. nooses were traded for handcuffs. somewhere along the way, we gained new enemies, cynicism and complacency. murders from urban america to suburban america. the pursuit of power for power's sake. we stand here today to say it is time to wake up so here in 2013, we stand before the statue of
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the great emancipator. we look towards the statue of the great liberator. we say we have come to wake up a new civil rights movement for economic justice, a new civil rights movement for freedom in these days, a new civil rights movement for jobs, new civil rights movement for men, women, children, of all backgrounds, all races, all dispositions, all orientations, all cities, all counties, all towns, all across america. america, it is time for us to wake up. the 21st century agenda for jobs and freedom comes alive today. we stand on the shoulders of the great men and women of yesterday and we affirm this new commitment for today and tomorrow. god bless you.
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god thank you and god lest this great nation. -- god bless this great nation. >> good afternoon. i am marcia fudge, the chair of the congressional lock caucus. and i am the chair of the congressional lack caucus because dr. martin luther king acted upon his dream. dr. king was not just a dreamer but the voice of a movement. in 1963, there were five members of the congressional black caucus. today, there are 44 african- american members in congress. dr. king dreamed of in america where every individual, no matter their race, nationality, or social economic background would have the opportunity to achieve dreams of their own. his dream was a call to action. dr. king advocated for an america where everyone would be afforded their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a nation where there would be equal protection under the law and a country where every person's right to vote is protected. he dreamed of an america where every child has access to quality schools and an education
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that prepares them for their future. he dreamed that we as a nation would walk together on the swift path toward justice. now it is up to us, the congress of the united states of america, to work together to pass a jobs bill that ensures decent jobs for all of our citizens. now it is up to us to ensure that we have a criminal justice system that does not value one life more than another. now it is up to us to ensure -- to make sure that no child goes hungry to school or to bed. in dr. king's words, we cannot and we must not be satisfied with anything less. it is our time to make dr. king's dream our reality. dr. king said that 1963 was not an end but a new beginning. let us make today the start of a new chapter in the history of this country. let us march forward towards
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justice together. thank you. >> brothers and sisters, the members of the service employees international union are proud to join the freedom fighters across this country in insisting on the three freedoms that are on the back of your program -- and in the spirit of the civil rights economic leadership whose shoulders we stand, i want you to join me in repeating the pledges of the freedoms we are
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committing ourselves here today. the freedom to participate in government, the freedom to prosper in life, the freedom to peacefully coexist. our members are proud to join with working people, faith leaders, community leaders across this country in joining our hands in a renewed commitment to bending the arc towards justice. and continuing the struggle to achieve racial equality and economic equality for all by delivering on the promise of the affordable care act, by insisting that we prevail in winning commonsense immigration reform now and by joining together to create good jobs by supporting workers all across this country who have the guts to stand up, join together, and a mandate living wage from their
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employers. the fight continues. we want to work for a just society for all work is valued, every human being is respected, where every family and community can thrive, and where we, brothers and sisters, join together in pursuing the freedom to have a better and more equal society for the next generation. thank you. >> please welcome actor and singer, jamie foxx. >> how are we doing? let's make some noise for 50 years. listen, i don't have much time i am here to celebrate with dr. king did 50 years -- i am not
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even probably going to read in the teleprompter because i will speak from my heart. i will tell you right now that everybody my age and all the entertainers, it is time for us to stand up and renew the stream. that is what we've got to do. i was affected by the trade on margin situation. i was affected by new town. i was affected by sandy hook. i am affected those thing so it is time for us now to pick up. harry belafonte saw me at the image awards and asked me what am i willing to do. he took it a step further and we went to dinner and my daughter is 19 years old -- i said if you want to get inspired, come listen to this man speak. when i sat with mr. belafonte, he asked my daughter -- how old are you? my daughter said 19 and i said, mr. belafonte, what were you doing at 19? he said i was coming home from world war ii and when i got back to america, i was not allowed to vote. so i love my country, i love america, but i realized i had more work to do. so al, jesse, margin, we marched. quacks i said wait a minute, you sound like you're naming a boy band group. who are these guys? he looked at my daughter and said -- martin luther king, have you heard of him? we sat there and we cried. what we need to do now is the young folks pick it up now so that when we are 87 years old
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talking to the other young folks, we can say it was me, will smith, jay-z, kanye alicia keys, the list goes on and on. don't make me start preaching up here. last but not least, i have to recognize mr. berry gordy. not only did harry belafonte bell martin luther king out of jail so he could march, he also paid for all the caretta scott king bills along his she was on this planet. young folks, let's have some respect to our elders, that's the first finger at the last thing is this and i am out -- we have to salute mr.berry gordy because he put dr. king's speech on an and put it out on motown records and after he did that, he turned around and gave those reels and those tapes back to the king family.
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thank you so much. you not forget, 50 years, i am out. thank you. >> jamie foxx, ladies and gentlemen. y'all these help me welcome one of our true heroes, a man who needs no introduction, a man who will fire us up, a man who is the president of the national action network, the reverend al sharpton. [applause] >> 50 years ago, when they came to washington, it was not for an event. it was in the middle of struggle.
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it was in the middle of battles to break down the walls of apartheid in america. dr. king and those that fought with him, they fought and they eat jim crow. we come today to not only celebrate and commemorate but we come as the children of dr. king to say that we are going to face jim crow's children. because jim crow had a son called james crowe junior esquire. he writes voting suppression loss and puts it in language that looks different but the results are the same. they come with laws that tell people to stand their ground, they come with laws that tell people to stop and frisk but i come to tell you just like our
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mothers and fathers beat jim crow, we will need james crowe junior esquire. they call the generation of dr. king the moses generation. those out here now are joshua. if joshua does not fight the fight for moses, then they are not really joshua. we saw dr. king and the dream cross the red sea of apartheid and segregation. but we have to cross the jordan of unequal economic -- we have to cross the jordan of continued discrimination and mass incarceration. we've got to keep on fighting and we've got to keep -- we got to vindicate and stand up and substantiate that the dream was not for one generation.
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the dream goes on until the dream is achieved. lastly, we made it this far not because of what we had in our pockets but what we had in our hearts. not because of what we owned, but because of who owned us. and we think a mighty god for doing us a martin luther king. we thank the mighty god that wrought us along way. he brought us from disgrace to amazing grace. he brought us from the butler to the president. he brought us from buelah tooprah and we thank god for the dream and we will keep on fighting until the dream is a reality. thank you and god bless you. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome randy weingarten. >> ladies and gentlemen, sisters and brothers, i am the president of the 1.5 million-
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member american federation of teachers. we have come so far, king, rustin, evers, parks, shot is, and so many others who have summoned our nation to confront the malignancy of prejudice and discrimination and many of our afflictions have been healed but we have far to go. because the supreme court has turned its back on voter suppression, many will once again be denied the right to vote. children who are today poor will stay poor. millions of americans work hard every day but cannot earn a living wage or exercise their right to collectively bargain. public schools where kids are needed the most often get policed and discrimination based on the color of your skin or the person you love may not be legal in many arenas but it is still legal in many times.
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leaders this day 50 years ago understood that struggle for civil rights, racial equality is a struggle for good jobs and decent wages. they understood, as we do today, that public education is an economic necessity and anchors democracy and a fundamental right. so we celebrate today that we have become a country that believes in equality and we recommit ourselves to be a country that acts on that belief. that starts with reclaiming the promise of public education, not as it is today or was in the past but what we need it to be to fulfill our collective responsibility to all of god's children. a great nation and shores that
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each neighborhood of school is a good school. it takes great pains to make the working poor and child hunger conditions of the past. it honors the rights of workers, it takes its immigrants out of the shadows and it makes the franchise sector assigned. a great nation is one that acts to lifting us toward opportunity and justice. the king family has brought us together these five days not simply to reflect but to act and we, at theafp will act to keep the dream alive, thank you. [applause] >> please welcome julian bond >> this is a special way and that special place for all of us. not only do we pay homage to those who gathered here 50 years ago to tell the nation that they too were americans, we also celebrate the 150th anniversary
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of abraham lincoln plus gettysburg address and the emancipation proclamation. this is personal for me. like many of you, i was privileged to be here 50 years ago. like many of you, i am the grandson of a slave. my grandfather and his mother were property like a horse or a chair. as a young girl, she had been given away as a wedding present to a new bride and when that bride became pregnant, her husband, my great-grandmother's owner and master, exercised his right to take his wife's slaves as his mistress. that union produced two children, one of them my grandfather. at age 15, barely able to read or write, he pitched his tuition to a steer and walked across kentucky to college and the college let him in. he belonged to a transcendent generation of black americans, a generation born in slavery in the freed by the civil war, determined to make their way as free women and men. martin luther king belonged to a transcendent generation of black americans, two, a generation born in segregation, determined to make their way as free women and men. when my grandfather graduated
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from berea, the college asked him to deliver the commencement address and he said then -- the pessimist from his corner looks out from a corner of which ms. and synth and blinded by all that is good or hopeful and the condition and progress of the human race, b wells the present state of affairs and projects woeful things for the future. in every cloud, he beholds a disruptive storm and every flash of lightning, an omen of evil, and every show that falls across his path, a lurking foe. but he forgets that the clouds also bring life and hope, that the lightning. five the atmosphere, that shadow and darkness prepare for sunshine and growth and that hardships and adversity nerve the race as the individuals for greater efforts and grander
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victories. we are still being tested by hardships and adversity from the elevation of stand your round loss to the evisceration of the voting rights act. to date we commit ourselves as we did 50 years ago to greater efforts and grander victories, thank you. >> and now, singer and songwriter, surely teacher. ? >> come on, everybody. we've been praying about this rain and i believe that god gives it to us. how i got over how i made it over. listen,
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when i get the glory, i'm going to tell the story. when i get the glory, i'm going ♪o say hallelujah. ♪ i'm going to sing and shout
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about how i got over. how i got over. i made it over. how i got over i made it over thank you, lord. thank you. thank you, lord.
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everybody here, thank the lord. he's been kind. thank you, lord. thank you, lord. can i hear you say thank you, lord. thank you.
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thank you, lord. thank you. thank you, lord. i'm going to say -- [applause] thank you, jesus. i want to thank you. thank you, lord. thank you.
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[applause] >> in 1963, my father, lyndon johnson, a passionate believer in equality, spoke these words " 100 years ago, the slaves were freed. 100 years later, the negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin.
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the negro today asks justice. we don't answer him. we don't answer those who live in it the soil. we reply to the negro by asking. patients " i was there with him at gettysburg when he spoke on memorial day 1963 at the 100th anniversary of the civil war. he was vice president at that time and it was three months before the historical march on
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washington that we commemorate today. at a superficial glance, my father, the grandson of a confederate soldier, may not have seemed the most obvious ally to the movement. a white seven or from jim crow south, he was no young idealist fresh out of college nor was racial equality a pressing goal of the majority of his texas constituents. rather the opposite. as a teacher, he had seen the plight of his mexican-american students and dr. king cost powerful dream found a kindred spirit and my father who cared deeply about fairness and
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equality. when the tragedy of president kennedy's assassination propelled him to the presidency, he used every power at his disposal including his considerable legislative muscle to push through the civil rights act of 1964 - [applause] the voting rights act of 1965 -- [applause] and the fair housing act of 1968. [applause] in daddy's laughter in the white house, signing the third civil rights bill, he wrote -- i do not exaggerate when i say that the proudest moment of my presidency have been times such as this when i have signed into law the promises of the century. recently, the supreme court struck down part of the voting rights act which did so much to combat voting inequality in our country. now, 50 years later, they are first -- there are still many examples of current events on how much farther we have yet to go to achieve that promise of a colorblind america. remember, too, that fairness and equality are powerful ideas that resonate with all americans and with a message as inspiring and timeless as the dream of dr. king. it will be unexpected allies if only we look for them. you know what his wife said? caretta scott king said freedom is never really wonm, you earn it.
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and when it in every generation. and she was right. let's go forth like jamie foxx says, thank you. >> please welcome caroline kennedy. [applause] >> thank you, linda johnson robb. good afternoon. 50 years ago, my father watched from the white house as dr. king and thousands of others recommitted america to our highest ideals. over the preceding months, president kennedy had put the full force of the federal government on the side of the movement calling on all americans to recognize that we
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faced a moral crisis as old as the scriptures and as clear as the american constitution. his brothers, my uncles bobby and teddy, my aunt eunice, continued his commitment, working to expand the promises made here to others suffering from discrimination and exclusion. a few months ago, after the trade on margin verdict was handed down and the supreme court if this are rated the voting rights act, president obama did the same, reminding us all that despite our remarkable progress, each generation must rededicate itself to the unfinished work of building a free and just america. 50 years ago, our parents and grandparents marched for jobs and freedom. we have suffered and sacrificed too much to let their dream become a memory. the children that are failing
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schools are all of our children. the victims of hate crimes and gun violence are our brothers and sisters. in the words of an old japanese proverb -- the water flows on but the river remains. now it is our turn to live up to our parents dream, to draw renewed strength from what happened here 50 years ago and work together for a better world. thank you. [applause] >> please welcome actor and unicef goodwill ambassador, forest whitaker. [applause] >> it's a great honor to be here on the 50th anniversary of dr. king's march on washington. it's very humbling to be allowed to connect with you in this way. each of you came here with
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individual goals and intentions which at first glance may seem separate and exclusive. but we all share a common bond. your presence here today says you care and want to bring more peace, love, and harmony to the world. together, we must embrace this moment. my travels as a goodwill ambassador for peace here and abroad, i have observed revolutions in social change firsthand, i have seen youth senselessly killed, people struggling for food, for a decent home, education, and justice. i am often reminded of the marches and decisions we experienced here during the 60s. i remember the words of dr. martin luther king which were -- i have decided to stick with love. hate is too great a burden to
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bear. [applause] we have all seen images from those days of the civil rights movement. pictures of segregated water fountains, public waiting rooms, movie theaters and in those amazing photos, i have always been drawn to the men, women, and children who are the silent heroes. many remain nameless but the heroic faces captured the portraits of the past to remind us of their sacrifice. they've risked their lives working tirelessly to bring about change. today, i want to celebrate those nameless individuals as we reflect on the last 50 years.
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in doing so, i want you to recognize the hero that exists inside yourselves. to understand that every step you take around an unknown corner marks your bravery. when we overcome life's hurdles, when we face and conquer our fears, when we help others become their better selves, we are committing small acts of heroism. if i were to take a picture of this crowd right now, people would see some of your faces in the movements that are starting today. this is your moment to join those silent heroes of the past. individuals who stood in the very spot where you stand today. you now have the responsibility to carry the torch as we gather here at the foot of the lincoln memorial as hundreds of thousands did on this day 50 years ago. i remain encouraged and
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inspired. let's be the generation to make a true difference in the world, let's create meaningful change, change that we can all believe in and share in. my mother always told me -- you don't have to believe in the things i believe but you have to believe in something. search, search to find the thing you believe in, the thing you believe will help mankind and then act upon it, like so many of the silent heroes and her whims of the movement. each of us can spark change by
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working to strengthen our communities and to shape our common destiny. as the bell rings today, my dream is that something will resonate inside you and me that will remind us each of our common bond. i would like to leave you with these words by dr. king -- whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. [applause] i can never be what i ought to the un-tell you are what you ought to be. may god bless you. make human remain -- may you remain connected in love, thank you. [applause] he justifies and to whom he justifies he glorifies so what do we say ♪o all of these things ♪
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>> in spite of my failures i still have been called have cavalry. i have been justified and when it's all over
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he promised to glorify so what do we say to all of these things this is what we say -- god be for us can be again. god be for us who can be again god the four of me who can be againstst us. >> don't be afraid of the chair or the arrow that flies by the day ?
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with god be for us with god be for us we can make it again. with god be for me i can live again. with god be for us with god before me ♪e can live again
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if god be for me who can be against me ♪ ♪ who can be against me ♪
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if god is for me who accan be against us ♪ [applause] >> as many people have pointed out today, the reason it worked, the reason we achieved victory
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is because we are on the side of righteousness and no matter who tries to stand in your way, i want you to leave here knowing that if god is for you, i wish i had some help here -- i said i wish i had some help here. if god is for us, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many trials, no matter how many fights, if god be for us, no one can stand against us so sing with me -- ? if god be for us who can stand against us if god be for us who can be against >> no matter how long it takes
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>> if god is before me who can be against -- you might have to sing in the rain sometimes but if god be for us, who will be against♪ ♪ >> if god the for us -- if god be for us who can stand against ?
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if god be for us who can stand against if god be for us ♪ho can be against ♪ if god be for us who can be against
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if god be for us who can be against he's got the whole world in his
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hands. got the whole world in his hands. --. he's got you a me brother in his hands. he has you me brother in his hands. he's got you a me brother and his hands he's got the whole world in his hands. he's got your me sister in his hands. he's got the whole world in his hands. he's got everybody here in his hands.
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he is coming round you. the lord hear me, hear me worshipers here at the national
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park, to say amen. say amen. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, oprah winfrey. >> hello, everybody! lord help me, my help we trust you god gives you
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♪ ♪ ♪ we lift our hands to you, jesus. >> i want to say our worshipers here at the national park, to say amen. say amen. thank you. hallelujah [laughter] [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, oprah winfrey. >> hello, everybody! i am absolutely thrilled to be here. i remember when i was nine years old and the march was occurring and i asked my mama could i go to the march. on this date and this place at this time 50 years ago today, dr. martin luther king shared his dream for america with america. dr. king was the passionate voice that awakened the conscience of a nation and inspired people all over the world. the power of his words resonated because they were spoken out of an unwavering belief in freedom, justice, equality and opportunity for all.
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let freedom ring was dr. king's closing call for a better and more just america. so, today people from all walks of life will gather at 3:00 p.m. for bell ringing events across our great country and around the world as we reaffirm our commitment to dr. king's ideals. dr. king believed that our destinies are all intertwined, and he knew that our hopes and our dreams are really all the
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same. he challenged us to see how we all are more alike than we are different. so, as the bells of freedom ring today, we are hoping that it is a time for all of us to reflect on not only the progress that has been made -- and we have made a lot -- but on what we have accomplished and also on the work that still remains before us. it is an opportunity today to recall where we once were in this nation and to think about that young man who at 34 years old stood up here and was able to force an entire country to wake up, to look at itself and to eventually change. and as we the people continue to honor the dream of a man and a movement, a man who in his short life saw suffering and injustice
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and refused to look the other way. we can be inspired and we, too, can be courageous by continuing to walk in the footsteps of the path that he forged. he's the one who reminded us that we will never walk alone. he was a drum major for justice. so, as the bells toll today, let us reflect on the bravery, let us reflect on the sacrifice of those who stood up for freedom, who stood up for us, whose shoulders we now stand on. as the bells toll today at three, let us ask ourselves how will the dream live on in me and you and all of us. as the bells toll let us remind ourselves injustice anywhere is
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a threat to justice everywhere. as the bells toll we commit to a life of service, because dr. king, one of my favorite quotes from him is not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service. so, we ask ourselves what are we doing to lift others up. as the bells toll we must recommit to the love it abides and connects each of us to shine through and let freedom ring. >> please welcome the king family welcoming the honorable john lewis of georgia. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome president jimmy carter, president bill clinton, first
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lady michelle obama, and the president of the united states, barack obama. [cheers and applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for our national anthem performed by identity for pop. >> ♪ o say can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming
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and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there o say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave ♪
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[cheers and applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, john lewis. >> president and mrs. obama, president clinton, president carter, i want to thank bernice king, the king family and the national park service for inviting me here to speak today. when i look out over this
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diverse crowd and survey the guests on this platform, it seems to realize what otis redding was singing about and what martin luther king, jr. was preaching this has been a long time coming but a change has come. we are standing here in the shadow of abraham lincoln 150 years after he issued the emancipation proclamation, and only 50 years after the historic march on washington for jobs and freedom. we have come a great distance in this country in the 50 years, but we still have a great distance to go before we fulfill the dream of martin luther king.
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sometimes i hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way i grew up in the cotton fields of alabama to now be serving in the united states congress makes me want to tell them come and walk in my shoes. come walk in the shoes of those who were attacked by police dogs, by hoses and night sticks, arrested and taken to jail. i first came to washington in the same year that president obama was born to participate in the freedom rides. in 1961, black and white people could not be seated together on a greyhound bus. so we decided to take on integrated fashion rides from
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here to new orleans. but we never made it there. over 400 of us were arrested and jailed in mississippi during the freedom rides. a bus was set on fire in anderson, alabama. we were beaten, arrested, and jailed. but we helped bring an end to segregation in public transportation. i came back here again in june of 1963 as the new chairman of the student nonviolent coordinating committee. we met with president kennedy, who said he defied the feeling in 1963, we could not register to vote simply because of the color of our skin. we had to pay a poll tax, pass a so-called literacy test, count
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the number of bubbles in a bar of soap or the number of jelly beans in a jar. hundreds of thousands of people were arrested and jailed throughout the south for trying to participate in the democratic process. medger evers had been killed. that is why we told president kennedy we planned it march on to demonstrate the need for equal justice and equal opportunity in america. on august 28, 1963, the nation's capitol was in a state of emergency. thousands of troops surrounded the city. workers were told to stay home. liquor stores were closed. but the march was so orderly it was fear with dignity and self- respect because we believed in the way of peace, the way of
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love, the way of nonviolence. people came that day to that march dressed like they were on their way to a religious service. mahalia jackson sang how we got over. there were thousands of us together in a strange sense it seemed like the whole place started rocking. we truly believe in every human being, even those who were violent toward us there was a spark of the divine. and no person had the right to scar or destroy that spark. martin luther king, jr. taught us the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. he taught us to have the power to forgive, the capacity to be
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reconciled. he taught us to stand up, to speak up, to speak out, to find a way to get in the way. people were willing to put their bodies on the line for a greater cause, greater than themselves. not one incident of violence was reported that day. because of the leadership of the movement. the spirit of dr. king's words captured the hearts of people not just around america but around the world. on that day, martin luther king, jr. made a speech, but he also delivered a sermon.
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he transformed these marble steps of the lincoln memorial into a modern-day pulpit. he changed us forever. after the ceremony was over, president kennedy invited us back down to the white house. he met us standing in the door of the oval office and he was beaming like a proud father as he shook the hands of each one of us he said, you did a good job. you did a good job. and he said to dr. king, and you have a dream. 50 years later we can ride anywhere we want to ride, stay where we want to stay. those signs that say white and colored are gone. and you won't see them any more.
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except in a museum, in a book, or on a video. but there are still invisible signs, barriers in the heart of human kind that draw a gap between us. too many of us still believe our differences define us instead of the divine spark that runs through all of human creation. the scars and stains of raceism still remain in society where they stop and frisk in new york or injustice in the case of tray -- trayvon martin in florida. the incarceration of millions of americans, immigrants hiding in the shadow, unemployment, homelessness, poverty, hunger or the renewed struggle for voting rights.
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we must never ever give up, we must never ever give in, we must keep the faith and keep our eyes on the prize. [applause] we did go to jail. but we got the civil rights act. we got a voting rights act. we got a fair housing act. but we must continue to push. we must continue to work. as the late a. philip randolph said, the organizer for the march in 1963, and the leader of
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sufficiently rights we may have come here on different ships but we are all in the same boat now. so, it doesn't matter whether we are black or white, latino, asian american or native american, whether we are gay or straight, one people, one family, we all live in the same house, not just the american house but the world's house. and when we finally assess these truths, then we will be able to fulfill dr. king's dreams to build a beloved community, a nation and a world at peace with itself. thank you very much. [cheers and applause] >> please welcome the 39th president of the united states, jimmy carter.
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>> i'm greatly honored to be here. i realize that most people know that it is highly unlikely that any of us three over to my right would have served in the white house or be on this platform had it not been for martin luther king, jr. and his movement and crusader for civil rights. so, we are grateful to him for our being here. i'm also proud that i came from the same part of the south as he did. he never lost contact with the folks back home. he was in tennessee helping garbage workers when he gave his life to a racist bullet. i remember how it was back in those days. i left georgia in 1943 for college and the navy. when i came home, from the submarine duty i was put on the board of education.
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i suggested to the other members that we visit all the schools in the county. they had never done this before. they were reluctant to go with me. but we finally did it. and we found that white children had three nice brick buildings but the african-american children had 26 different elementary schools in the county. they were in churches, front living rooms, and a few were in barns. they had so many because there were no school buses for african-american children and they had to be within walking distance of where they went to class. their school books were outdated and worn out. and every one of them had a white child's name in the front of a book.
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we finally obtained some buses, and in the state legislature ordained that the front fenders be painted black. not even the school buses could be equal to each other. one of the finest moments of my life was 10 months after dr. king's famous speech right here when president lyndon johnson signed the civil rights act. i was grateful when the king family adopted me as their presidential candidate in 1976. every handshake from dr. king, from daddy king, every hug for coretta, got me a million yankee votes. [laughter] daddy king prayed at the democratic convention, for quite a while, i might say, and coretta was in the hotel room with me and rosalyn when i was elected president. my presidential battle of freedom citation to coretta said he gazed at the great wall of
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segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. he made our nation stronger because he played it better. we were able to create a national historic site where dr. king lived, worked and worshiped. it is next door to the carter center linked by a walking -- links to the other just by a walking path. there away try to make principles follow the same as theirs emphasizing peace and human rights. i remember the day that king said too many people martin freed only the mountain people. in truth he prayed for all people. he added it is not enough to have a right to sit a lunch counter if you can't afford to buy a meal. he also said the ghetto still
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looks the same even from the front seat of a bus. perhaps the most challenging statement of martin luther king jr. was, and i quote, "the question of our time is how to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence." in the nobel prize ceremony of 2002, i said to my fellow georgian was "the greatest leader that my native state and perhaps my native country has ever produced," and i was not excluding presidents and even the founding fathers when i said this. i believe we all know how dr. king would have reacted to the new idea of promise to exclude certain voters, especially african americans.
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i think we all now how dr. king would have reacted to the supreme court's striking down a crucial part of the voter rights act recently passed overwhelmingly by congress. i think we know how dr. king would have reacted to unemployment among african americans being almost twice the rate of white people and for teenagers at 42%. i think we would all know how dr. king would have reacted to our country being awash in guns and for more and more states passing "stand your ground" laws. i think we know how dr. king would have reacted for people from the district of columbia still not having full citizenship rights. [cheers and applause] and i think we all know how dr. king would have reacted to have more than 835,000 african- american men in prison, five times as many as when i left
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office and with one-third of all african-american males being destined to being imprisoned in their lifetime. there's a tremendous agenda ahead of us and i'm thankful to martin luther king, jr., and his dream is still alive. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> and now, please welcome the 42nd president of the united states, bill clinton. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. mr. president, mrs. obama, president carter, vice president biden. i want to thank my great friend reverend bernice king and the king family for inviting me to
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be part of this 50th observation of one of the most important days in american history. dr. king and a. philip randolph. john lewis, dorothy heights. daisy bates and all the others who led there massive march knew what they were doing on this hallowed ground. in the shadow of lincoln's statue the burning memory of the fact that he gave his life to preserve the union and end slavery, martin luther king urged his crowd not to drink from the cup of bitterness, but to reach across the racial divide. because, he said, we cannot walk alone. their destiny is tied up with our destiny. their freedom is bound to our freedom.
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he urged the victims of racial violence to meet white americans with outstretched hands, not a clenched fist and prove the redeeming power of unearned suffering. and then he dreamed of an america where all citizens would sit together at a table of brotherhood and little white boys and girl and little black boys and girls would hold hands across the color line. where his own children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. this march and that speech changed america. they opened minds, they melted hearts, and they moved millions including a 17-year-old boy
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watching alone in his home in arkansas. it was an empowering moment but also an empowered moment. as the great chronicler of those years taylor branch wrote, the movement here gained a force to "the stubborn gates of freedom and out flowed the civil rights act, voting rights act, medicaid, medicare, open housing." it is well to remember the leaders and foot soldiers were both idealists and tough realists. they had to be. it was a violent time. just three months later, we lost president kennedy and we thank god that president johnson came in and fought for all of those issues i just mentioned. [applause]
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just five years later, we lost senator kennedy. and in between there was the carnage of the fight for jobs, freedom and equality. just 18 days after this march, four little children were killed in the birmingham church bombing. then there were the ku klux klan murders, the mississippi lynchings. and a dozen others, until in 1968 dr. king himself was martyred still marching for jobs and freedom. what a debt we owe to those people who came here 50 years ago. [applause] the martyrs played it all for a dream. a dream as john lewis said that millions have now actually lived.
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how are we going to repay the debt? dr. king's dream of interdependence, his prescription of whole-hearted cooperation across racial lines, they ring as true today as they did 50 years ago. oh, yes, we face terrible political gridlock now. read a little history. it is nothing new. yes, there remain racial inequality in employment, income, health, wealth, incarceration and in the victims and perpetrators of violent crime. but we don't face beatings, lynchings, and shootings for our political beliefs any more, and i would respectfully suggest that martin luther king did not live and die to hear his heirs whine about political gridlock. it is time to start complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the
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american people back. we cannot be disheartened by the forces of resistance to building a modern economy of good jobs and rising income or rebuilding our education system to give our children a common core of knowledge necessary to ensure success. or to give americans of all ages access to affordable college and training programs. and we thank the president for his efforts in those regards. we cannot relax in our efforts to implement health care reform in a way that ends discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, one of which is inadequate income to pay for rising health care. a health care reform that will
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lower costs and lengthen lives. nor can we stop investing in science and technology to train young people of all races for the jobs of tomorrow and to act on what we learned about our bodies, our businesses, and our climates. we must push open those stubborn gates. we cannot be discouraged by a supreme court decision that said we don't need this critical provision of the voting rights act because look at the states. it made it harder for african americans and hispanics and students and elderly and infirm and poor working folks to vote. what do you know? they showed up, stood in line for hours and voted anyway. so obviously we don't need any kind of law. [applause] but a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.
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[applause] we must open those stubborn gates. and let us not forget while racial divides persist and must not be denied, the whole american landscape is littered with the lost dreams and dashed hopes of people of all races. and the great irony of the current moment is that the future has never brimmed with more possibilities. it has never burned brighter in what we could become if we push open those stubborn gates. and if we do it together. the choice remains as it was on that distant summer day 50 years ago. cooperate and thrive or fight with each other and fall behind.
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we should all thank god for dr. king and john lewis and all of those who gave us a dream to guide us. a dream they paid for like our founders with their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. we thank them for reminding us that america is always becoming, always on a journey, and we all, every single citizen among us, have to run our laps. god bless them and god bless america. [cheers and applause] >> please give a warm welcome to martin luther king, iii. >> mr. president, madam first lady, president carter, president clinton, congressman
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lewis, and to all program participants, this is an unusual moment in our world history as we observe the 50th anniversary. and i'm so thankful for the opportunity to really thank america for helping to realize the dream. although i must say it is not yet realized. so we must redouble and quadruple our efforts. so much has been said today -- and i was 5 years old in 1963 when dad delivered his message so, i'm blessed that we were able to bring our daughter, who is hopefully paying attention, 5 years old, so that she can appreciate this history and
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continue to participate. there are two quick other things that i want to say. i have been speaking all week as many of us have. but i'm reminded that dad challenged us. that's what he did, challenged our nation to be a better nation for all god's children. i'm reminded that he taught us the power of love, the love that is totally unselfish, you love somebody if you are old, young, white, black, native american, latino, it doesn't matter because god calls us to do that. love and forgiveness is what we need more of not just in our nation but throughout the world. so i want to rush to tell you dad said the ultimate measure of a human being is where one
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stands not in times of comfort and convenience but in times of challenge and controversy. he said on some questions cowardice acts is the position, speed is vanity is a position popular but that something deep inside calls conscience acts is a position of rights so often talked about sometimes we must take positions that are neither safe nor popular nor politic but away must take those positions because our conscience tells us they are right. our families say this afternoon we've got a lot of work to do, but none of us should be any which is tired. why? because we've come much too far from where we started. you see, no one ever told any of us that our roads would be easy, but i know our god, our god, our
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god did not bring any of us this far to leave us. thank you and god bless you. [cheers and applause] >> please welcome. >> thank you. president obama and mrs. obama, presidents clinton and carter, other distinguished program participants, i'm honored to be among you today and to address this historic gathering. i don't know if i am the most senior speaker to address this
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assembly today, but i'm certainly and surely the only person alive who knew martin luther king, jr. when he was a baby. it has been my great privilege to watch my little brother grow and thrive and develop into a fine man and then a great leader whose legacy continues to inspire countless millions around the world. unfortunately, a bout with a flu virus 50 years ago prevented me from attending the original march. but i was able to watch it on television, and i was as awe- struck as everyone else. i knew martin was an excellent
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preacher because i had seen him deliver on many occasions. but on that day, martin achieved greatness because he melded the hopes and dreams of millions into a grand vision of healing, reconciliation, and brotherhood. the dream my brother shared with our nation and world on that sweltering day, a day 50 years ago, continues to further clear and sustain nonviolent activists worldwide in that struggle for freedom and human rights. indeed, this gathering provides a powerful testament of hope and
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proof positive that martin's great dream will live on in the hearts of humanity for generations to come. our challenge as followers of martin luther king, jr. is to now honor his life, leadership, and legacy by living our lives in a way that carries forward the unfinished work. there is no better way to honor his sacrifices and contributions than by becoming champions of nonviolence. in our homes, communities and places of work, worship and learning wherever, every day.
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the dream martin shared on that day a half century ago remains a definitive statement of the american dream, the beautiful vision of a diverse, freedom- loving people united in our love of justice, brotherhood and sisterhood. yes, they can slay the dream but no, they cannot destroy his dream. his dream is a vision not yet to be realized, a dream yet unfilled and we have much to do before we can celebrate the dream as a reality.
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as the suppression of voting rights and horrific violence that has taken the lives of trayvon martin and young people all across america and has so painfully demonstrated. but, despite the influences and challenges we face, we are here today to affirm the dream. we are not going to be discouraged. we are not going to be distracted. we are not going to be defeated. instead, we are going forward into this uncertain future with courage and determination to make the dream a vibrant reality. so the work to fulfill the dream goes on.
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and despite the daunting challenges we face on the road to the beloved community, i feel that the dream is sinking deep and nourishing roots all across america and around the world. may it continue to thrive and spread and help bring justice, peace and liberation to all humanity. thank you and god bless you all. [cheers and applause] >> please welcome reverend dr. bernice king. >> president obama, mrs. obama, president carter and clinton,
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congressman lewis, ambassador young, my brother martin iii, to my entire family. i was five months old when my father delivered his "i have a dream" speech and i probably was somewhere crawling on the floor or taking a nap after having a meal. but today is a glorious day because on this program today we have witnessed a manifestation of the beloved community. and we thank everyone for their presence here today. today we have been honored to have three presidents of the united states. 50 years ago, the president did not attend. today, we are honored to have many women in the planning and mobilization of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington.
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[applause] 50 years ago, there was not a single woman on the program. today, we are honored to have not just one young person but several young people on the program today. it is certainly a tribute to the work and legacy of so many people that have gone on before us. 50 years ago today, in a symbolic shadow of abraham lincoln, my father stood in this very spot and declared to this nation his dream to let freedom ring for all the people being manacled by a system of segregation and discrimination. he commissioned us to go back to our various cities, towns, hamlets, states and villages and let freedom ring.
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the reverberation of the sound of that freedom message has amplified and echoed since 1963 through the decades and coast to coast throughout this nation and even around the world. and as we are summoned again back to these hallowed grounds to send out a clarion call to let freedom ring. since that time, as a result of the civil rights act of 1964, voting rights act of 1965, the fair housing act of 1968, we have witnessed great strides toward freedom for all regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, class or sexual orientation. 50 years later in this year of jubilee, we are standing once again in the shadow of that great emancipator, having been
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summoned to these hallowed grounds to reverberate the message of that great liberator. for there is a remnant from 1963, congressman lewis, ambassador young, that still remain who have come to bequeath that message of freedom it a new generation of people who must now carry that message in their towns, their community. amongst their tribes and amongst their nations of the world. we must keep the sound and the message of freedom and justice going. it was my mother as has been said previously coretta scott king who in fact 30 years ago assembled a coalition of conscience that started us on this whole path of remembering the anniversary of the march on washington.
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she reminded us that struggle is a never-ends progress. freedom is never really won -- you earn it and win in every generation. so away come once again to let freedom ring. because if freedom stops ringing then the sound will disappear and the atmosphere charged with something else. 50 years later, we come once again to this special landing on the steps of the lincoln memorial to reflect, to renew, and to rejuvenate for the continued struggle of freedom and justice. for today, 50 years later, my friends, we are still crippled by practices and policies steeped in racial pride, hatred and hostility. some of which have us standing our ground rather than finding common ground.
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we are still chained by economic disparity, income and class inequality, and conditions of poverty for many of god's children around this nation and the world. we are still bound by a cycle of civil unrest and inherent social biases in our nation and world that often times degenerate into violence and destruction, especially against women and children. we are at this landing and now we must break the cycle. the prophet king spoke the vision. he made it plain. and we must run with it in this generation. his prophetic vision and magnificent dream described the yearning of people all over the world to have the freedom to prosper in life, wigs the right to pursue one's aspirations, purposes, dreams, well-being,
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without oppressive, depressive, repressive practices, behaviors, laws and conditions that diminish one's dignity and denies one life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. the freedom to participate in government, which is the right to have a voice and a say in how you are represented, regulate and governed without threats of tyranny, disenfranchisement, exclusionary tactics and behavior and to have freedom to peacefully co-exist which is the right to be respected in one's self-hood, individuality and uniqueness without fear of attack, assault or abuse. in 1967, my father asked a poignant and critical question. >> were going to break away from this event and take you live to the rose garden of the white
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house. we expect the president to come out and speak to the nation. a white house official saying that mr. obama's remarks will not be about an imminent military option in syria but rather an update on how to proceed. you see one of the aids coming out with the president for the remarks. nhe president has bee considering a military strike against syria. as of yesterday, he said he has not yet made a decision. we will hear from you after the president's remarks. we will open up our four minus to get your reaction. let's take a look and listen right now to the rose garden at the white house. we expect the president at any moment.
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>> again, we are life waiting in the rose garden of the white house for president obama to make remarks on syria. the "associated press" reporting that a team of you in inspectors inspectors arrive in the netherlands today. that team electing broad, that's blood, urine, and samples to be sent to europe for analysis.
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congress being briefed by the white house today. senior military leaders and white house folks briefing congress. vice president joe biden, defense secretary chuck hagel, and secretary of state john kerry all reported at the white house today. partiesnators from both scheduled to be briefed somewhere this afternoon via phone, and house speaker john boehner has invited house meters to return early tomorrow from their august break for a atssified briefing in person the capital. we were told the president was going to be starting a half-hour ago, and we were told about three minutes ago that he will be starting right now. so we're waiting and listening here in the rose garden at the white house. >> good afternoon, everybody. 10 days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women, and children were massacred in syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.
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yesterday, the united states presented a powerful case that the syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people. our intelligence shows the assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. all of this corporate's what the world can plainly see. hospitals overflowing with victims. terrible images of the dead. all told, well over 1000 people were murdered. several hundred of them were children. gassedirls and boys to death by their own government. this attack is an assault on human committee. it also presents a serious danger to our national security.
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it risks making a mockery of the global role vision on the use of chemical weapons. it endangers our friends and our partners along serial's border including --syria's border including israel, turkey, lebanon, and iraq. it leads to an as quitting use of chemical weapons or the proliferation for terrorist groups who would do our people harm. a world with many damage, this menace must be confronted. deliberation, i have decided that the unit states should take military syrian regime targets. this will not be an open-ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. will be, our action designed to be limited in duration and scope. but i'm confident we can hold the assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. military has assets in the
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region, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. i am prepared to give that order. having made my decision as commander in chief based on what i am convinced is our national security interests, i am also i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. nged believe that power is not rooted in our military right but in our example of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. that is why i have made a second decision -- i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's
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representatives in congress. for the last several days, we have heard from amber's of the congress who want their voices to be heard. i absolutely agree. so this morning, i spoke with all congressional leaders, and they agreed to schedule a debate and in a vote as congress comes back into session. in the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with of the information they need to understand what happened in syria and white have such profound implications for america's national security. should be us accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote. confident in the case our government has made without waiting for u.n. inspectors. i am comfortable going forward without the approval of a united nations security council that has so far been completely unverified and unwilling to hold assad accountable.
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as a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to congress. undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the united kingdom this week when the parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even if the prime minister supported taking action. yet, while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. we should have this debate. the issues are too big for business as usual. this morning, john boehner, harry reid, nancy pelosi, and mitch mcconnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy. a country faces few decisions as grave as using military force. even when a force is limited. i respect the views of those who caution, particularly
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as our country emerges from a time of war that i was elected in part to handle. but if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the cost of doing nothing. here's my question for every member of congress and every member of the global community -- what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? what is the purpose of the international system that we have built if the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to i the governments of 98% of the world people, and approved overwhelmingly by the congress of the united states is not enforced? make no mistake -- this has implications beyond chemical warfare. if we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it
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say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules? to governments who would choose to build nuclear arms, to terrorists who would spread by let go weapons, two armies who carry out genocide? we cannot raise our children where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us. so just as i will take this case to congress, i will also deliver this message to the world -- while the u.n. investigation have some time to report on its findings, we will insist that a an atrocity committed with chemical weapons will not only be investigated, m must be confronted. i do not expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made 30 privately, we have heard many exertions of support from our friends, but i would ask those who care about the risk of the international community to stand publicly behind our actions.
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let me say this to the american people -- i know well that we are weary of war. we have ended one war in iraq, we are ending another in afghanistan, and the american people have good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in syria with our military. in that part of the world, there nt sectarian differences, and the hopes of arab spring have a lease changes that will take many years to resolve your that's why we are not contemplating on putting our troops in the middle of someone else's war. instead, we will continue to support the syrian people through our pressure on the assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displays, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people. but we are the united states of america. must not turn a blind eye to what happened in the methodist -- in damascus.
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we built an international world order, and enfor the rules that give it meaning. we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depend on the responsibility of nations. we are not perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities. to all members of congress, of both parties, i ask you to take this vote for our national security. i am looking forward to the debate. in doing so, i ask you, members of congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or politics of the moment. is not abouthis who occupies this office at any given time. it is about who we are as a country. i believe that the peoples are presented as must be invested in what america does abroad. now with the time to show the world that america keeps our commitments. we do what we say.
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we lead with the belief that right makes might. not the other way around. know there are no easy options. i was not elected to avoid hard decisions, and neither were the members of the house and the senate. i have told you what i believe, that our security and demand cannot turn away from the civilians with chemical weapons. our democracy stronger when the president and people represented stand together. i am ready to act. today i am asking congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation. thank you very much. rightl you support us up -- support a strike of congress disapproves? >> there you see the president
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and the vice president making their way back into the white house from the rose garden. we will show you a picture of the scene out front of the white house, where there are protesters. , gathering see them in anticipation for the president's remarks. we are going to put the numbers on the screen, we would like to hear your reaction. president obama says he is going to congress to seek resolution in the authorized use of military force. numbers for republicans, 202- 585-3885. 585-3886., 202- 202-585-3887. we will listen in for a couple of minutes while you dial-in to let us know what you think.
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[indiscernible] >> no more silence. no more silence.
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[indiscernible] how many people did you gas today? kids did you bomb today? how many kids did you gas today? no more silence.
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no more silence. [indiscernible] glad to see the numbers on your
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screen, we are going to start taking your calls. we are going to start with san pedro, california on our independent line. what was your reaction to the president's remarks? >> i'm glad he is going to seek congressional approval. ourel strongly that government needs to seek diplomacy over military action. this knee-jerk reaction of going in with all the military might not be -- is not always the best solution. >> you support the president's decision to go to congress? >> definitely. i will be contacting my congresswoman to ask her to vote no. >> thank you. let us go to quincy, illinois. on our live for republicans -- your reaction to president obama's remarks that he is going a vote from congress.
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>> my reaction is that we support the president of the united states, we support the commerce of the united states, we support democracy. we cannot allow the deaths of children in syria. we have a moral responsibility to say no to that, even though the world does not always agree with us. we have a moral responsibility to say no. >> do you agree with the president waiting rather than taking unilateral action without -- consoled of congress without the consult of congress? >> i agree with those in congress because under the war powers act, that is what the president should do. i will support the president even if he chooses to go unilaterally. i will support the president in that regard. woman before me, i
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intend to call my countrymen and urge them to support the president. >> thank you very much. let us move to philadelphia, you're on c-span. >> i'm a democrat. i believe our congress people should vote. i am totally against the war. we have had too many wars. i have been to the philippines, to vietnam. i have been to cambodia, i have been all over the place. it is disheartening to me. no more war, no more children dying. we need to do some stuff here in this state, in this country for our people. i'm going to contact my congressperson as well to vote against it. we just cannot help everybody. >> do the president's remarks persuade you at all? >> it persuaded me to contact my congressman. >> let's move onto baltimore,
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maryland, our line for independent. >> i don't believe that president obama should get approval from congress because that would be ringing congress into committing an act of four. the war itself would be illegal -- an act of war. the war itself would be illegal and president obama would be committing an act of war against a sovereign nation. rini and compress -- bringing in congress only makes them complicit in this view -- in this. the united nations has not approved ash those are the only two conditions that a u.s. president can take the country to war. he would be a war criminal. >> i want to move on and get more some -- and get some more calls area -- more calls. theesters gathered before
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remarks by the president. you can see some of them there. we are going to show you those remarks again in just a little while. in the meantime, let us move on to more of your phone calls. the line for republicans, you are on c-span. >> too many of our young men and women have been maimed and don't in th and i believe we should be getting involved. >> next call from alabama. >> i support the president and i feel that if he goes to our congress am i support him there, as well. if we let this go we are going to end up with another hitler. >> we appreciate that area let's go to washington dc, our line for democrats. >> i'm totally in support of the president, i don't think we can a travesty like
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that take place. we have to do something. the rest of the world is looking to us to do something. if we don't stand up now and take a stand, i think we are in for a long road ahead. do youme ask you this, support the president's decision to go to congress and seek resolution? crocs i do. >> let's move on to -- what's i do -- >> i do. >> let's move down to harrisburg. >> i absolutely support the president and i do believe he should go to congress. that is what we elected those people for, to do their jobs. if that other guy said we would be complicit, that is part of the job description. will you think congress support the president? how do you think this will turn out? collects i hope they do. whether they do or not they need
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to be heard from because those are our representatives. >> thank you. let's move to philadelphia, pennsylvania, our line for republicans. go ahead. -- ithink the notion of is not about supporting the president or republicans. the united states is seeing the result of some of that talk of america being a never nation and not being out front. i don't think there is a need for congressional action. he admitted he has this power. we should have acted by now. i think senator mccain was correct in that we should have done more than simply saying we should attack narrowly. mr. continuity had a piece the other day, i think that is the way to go. i support the president willing to act. the president's decision to wait and go and seek
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congressional approval was influenced by the international situation, the british house of commons? do you feel that influence? collects i am sure there was some conversation about that. burton's decision was unfortunate. it is clear that the president peopleo -- the american are not interested in getting into another war. i think seeking congressional approval give him an out. -- weething goes awry probably will not do very much. it will give him cover to say, i had congress behind me. this is not him just saying we will go. this is more for the president trying to live up to his hype. you cannot be this lone ranger without -- as president bush has been. going to congress is simply
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going to cause all kinds of debate. we are going to have all of ande 2016 -- we need action politics are going to get into this thing. national security. to be above that. when you bring it to congress we are going to get down to money politics instead of getting to a solution. >> i appreciate your input. let's go to kerry in colorado. in watching this, i am amazed that people can even consider not acting somehow. the video that is coming out of syria of young children crying that they cannot believe they are still alive and their whole family is dead, i cannot believe that we as united states citizens at a time of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington cannot understand that we have an obligation to defend the people who cannot
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defend themselves. >> we're going to move to new york. you are on our line for independence. -- for independents. >> the lady just mentioned we have an obligation, find, if we have an obligation to help these arele or if that is what we trying to do, what happens when we go as far as we went we did put notes on the ground? -- boots on the ground? who is there to help these people when we are there you go -- there yo? the president is trying to wash his hands and give us over to congress. i think it is great they are considering america's point of view and what our morality stance is in regard to this. going to new hampshire, you are on c-span. >> good day.
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suggestion. i thought the president's speech was very thoughtful. syriak we can condemn without taking any military action. i think it can be done by cutting off all technology. isolate syria from the world community. totally isolate them. -- don'tif they take do anymore of this gassing, we will allow them back. >> let's go to johnstown, pennsylvania, our line for democrats. >> the previous caller, i don't know if you would take syria out of national radio, how would the regime be able
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to do what they wanted to and nobody would know anything. presidentrt the wanting to do something. it is disappointing that the united nations has not stepped up themselves and wanted to do something. anywhere in the world, the people shouldn't be treated like that by their government. if there are other people around the world needing to step up and wayp[ them in whatever they can. we don't want other people to be treated like that regardless of their race, you know, wherever they are from. >> the pictures on your screen, live pictures from lafayette park. that is just in front of the white house. you can see some of the protesters gathering, obviously
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many of them with photographs and science. as we continue to take your reactions to president obama's remarks -- we are going to play them again in just a little bit. let's go to new york, our line for independents. >> hi. >> you are on the air. >> great. i approve of the president that he should go to congress to vote on any action to be taken in syria. i disagree on we taking any action, we as the united states. no country is perfect and our s is not perfect. i think that if they do any military action it's going to cause a domino effect. just like one of the callers
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said, who helps us? that's where i stand. i say no, let's clean up our backyard before we even think of cleaning up somebody else's. it is going into something that is unknown. i disagree with that. >> we are going to get one more call in, houston, texas. i you there you go you are on c- span -- are you there yo? you are on c-span. >> i think it is wonderful he is seeking congress's approval. i am shocked he would consider not seeking their approval. call my congressman to let them know to please not sent troops to syria. we had just gotten out of war. we need to keep our business to ourselves. we have a lot of children dying and starving in our own country. i just wanted to point out a
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little bit of hypocrisy -- when children die in america, they -- when children die in syria they want to go to war. i think it is hypocritical. >> thank you for all your calls. we are going to follow all of this today on the c-span networks, various reactions on capitol hill or elsewhere. lots more chances to hear from you by phone and by e-mail, so stay with us. we are going to show you again the remarks president obama may just about a half-hour or so ago in the rose garden of the white house. >> good afternoon everybody. 10 days ago the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the woody first century.
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yesterday the united states presented a powerful case that the syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people. our intelligence shows the assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highlypopulated suburbs of damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. all of this corporate's what the world can plainly see. hospitals overflowing with victims. terrible images of the dead. all told, well over 1000 people were murdered. several hundred of them were children. young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government. this attack is an assault on -- on humannity. dignity. it also presents a serious danger to our national security. it risks making a mockery of the
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global role vision on the use of -- global prohibition on the use ofchemical weapons. it endangers our friends and our partners along syria's border including israel, turkey, lebanon, and iraq. it leads to an escalating use of chemical weapons or the proliferation for terrorist groups who would do our people harm. a world with many damage, this-- with many dangers, thismenace must be confronted. after careful deliberation, i have decided that the unit states should take military-- the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. this will not be an open-ended intervention. we would not put boots on the ground. and said, our action will be designed to be limited in duration and scope. but i'm confident we can hold the assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. our military has assets in the
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region, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. moreover, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. i am prepared to give that order. but having made my decision as commander in chief based on what i am convinced is our national security interests, i am also mindful that i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i have longed believe that power is not rooted in our military right but in our example of a-- military might but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. that is why i have made a second decision -- i will seek authorization for the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress.
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for the last several days, we have heard from members of the congress who want their voices to be heard. i absolutely agree. so this morning, i spoke with all congressional leaders, and they agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as congress comes back into session. in the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with of the information they need to understand what happened in syria and why it has such profound implications for america's national security. and all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote. i'm confident in the case our government has made without waiting for u.n. inspectors. i am comfortable going forward without the approval of a united nations security council that has so far been completely unverified and unwilling to hold -- completely paralyzed and
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unwilling to hold assad accountable. as a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to congress. undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the united kingdom this week when the parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even if the prime minister supported taking action. yet, while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. we should have this debate. the issues are too big for business as usual. this morning, john boehner, harry reid, nancy pelosi, and mitch mcconnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy. a country faces few decisions as grave as using military force. even when a force is limited. i respect the views of those who called for caution, particularly
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as our country emerges from a time of war that i was elected in part to handle.-- in part two and. to end.rt but if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the cost of doing nothing. here's my question for every member of congress and every member of the global community what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? what is the purpose of the international system that we have built if the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98% of the world people, and approved overwhelmingly by the congress of the united states is not enforced? make no mistake -- this has implications beyond chemical warfare. if we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?
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to governments who would choose to build nuclear arms, to terrorists who would spread biological weapons, to armies who carry out genocide? we cannot raise our children where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us. so just as i will take this case to congress, i will also deliver this message to the world -- while the u.n. investigation has some time to report on its findings, we will insist that a an atrocity committed with chemical weapons will not only be investigated, it must be confronted. i do not expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made. privately, we have heard many exertions of support from our-- fromexpressions of support our friends, but i would ask those who care about the risk of the
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international community to stand publicly behind our actions. let me say this to the american people -- i know well that we are weary of war. we have ended one war in iraq, we are ending another in afghanistan, and the american people have good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in syria with our military. in that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of arab spring have a lease changes -- have unleashed forces of change that will take many years to resolve your that's why we are-- many years to resolve. that's why we are not contemplating on putting our troops in the middle of someone else's war. instead, we will continue to support the syrian people through our pressure on the assad regime, our commitment to the opposition, our care for the displaced, and our pursuit of a political resolution that achieves a government that respects the dignity of its people. but we are the united states of america. we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in out of the ashes of
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world war ii damascuswe built an-- out of the ashes of world war ii we built an international world order, and enforce the rules that give it meaning. we did so because we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depend on the responsibility of nations. we are not perfect, but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities. so to all members of congress, of both parties, i ask you to take this vote for our national security. i am looking forward to the debate. in doing so, i ask you, members of congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or politics of the moment. ultimately, this is not about who occupies this office at any given time. it is about who we are as a country. i believe that the peoples are presented as must be invested in -- the people' that gives -- the representatives
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must be invested in what america does abroad. now with the time to show the world that america keeps our commitments. we do what we say. we lead with the belief that right makes might. not the other way around. we all know there are no easy options. i was not elected to avoid hard decisions, and neither were the members of the house and the senate. i've told you what i believe, that our security and our values demand that we cannot turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons. and our democracy is stronger when the president and the peoples represented as stand-- the people's were presented tips representatives stand together. . am ready to act in the face today i'm asking the congress to
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send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together. >> we are live in front of the white house, there are some protesters still there. you can see the white house in the background. people have been gathering in front of the white house this afternoon, protesting various aspects. you have heard president obama saying he intends to seek congressional approval for action in syria. we understand that congress is back on september 9. you can watch all of that debate. we do not know when it will be or what form it will take. we will be here on the c-span networks. we will have some more of your phone calls now. those of you joining us on radio, the numbers for our republican friends, 202-585- 3885. republicans -- democrats call us at 202-585-3886. 585-3887.nts at 202-
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his speech was too soon. i think he should've gotten congressional approval first and we need support from some of the other countries. iran said they will tell you if we strike. i just want to say i think he should get approval of congress first and then make a speech. >> let's go to new bedford, massachusetts. you are live on c-span. >> the statement i am about to make is for congress, the united nations, the arab league of nations, and of course the british parliament -- i am going the studious individual, albert einstein, who said it is a dangerous world that we live evilot because of men do but because of the men who do nothing about it. have a good day. >> new york, our line for
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independencets. >> i agree with the gentleman before who said it is dangerous if we do nothing. people are so critical of our president. happening,tarted representative mccain criticized him for not doing anything. are negative. when he says he wants to do something you have other people who are negative. it is almost as if he is dammed if he doesn't damped if he doesn't. people are so critical. i support him and we should support our president. it is a difficult decision he is making. we have all seen the pictures. he does nothing -- forget it. these people are just against him. i am just so angry. we need to support him. this is a difficult time, a difficult decision. i agree with him asking
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congress, because that is the correct thing to do. i hate all of this negativity against him. >> thank you for your call. let's go to indiana on our independent line. go ahead. piñon is -- my opinion is he said he would make a red line and told the world not to korea,t, iran, syria, they crossed that red line. i don't think he needs the congress to go ahead and bomb the government, not the people. that will show iran and korea that we will not mess around. to me it should be that way. he needs to follow through with the situation. >> let me ask you this, do you
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think the pressure is on congress to some extent? clubs tongass has nothing to do with it. -- >> congress has nothing to do with it and the president made a red line. >> what's go to tennessee. -- let's go to tennessee. you're on the air. the reason the united nations members will not go to war is because they are all bankrupt and they have the money to finance the war. the syrian president should be taken to court for war crimes. >> who would do that? >> the united nations itself. in brussels you have war crimes court. >> let's go to trinity, north carolina, time for a couple more. you're on the air. >> i totally agree with obama.
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i do not like obama. -- a shame the british they through hillary clinton under the bus and that military belongs to him. he is the commander-in-chief in chief. he is the owning one that can give us a standing order. >> is he wrong to consult congress? -- military belongs to him >> the military belongs to him. he has the right as the president of the united states and they have to obey him. >> here is a statement just released from john boehner and majority leader eric cantor, they issued the following joint statement --
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when congress returns on september 9, it will be top of their calendar. we will cover that right here on c-span. as edina maryland on the line for democrats. -- to pasadena, maryland on the line for democrats. >> people need to open their eyes. the chemical weapons are a set of for world war iii. >> we will have more of your calls later as we move through this developing story. you see some of the protesters still out there on lafayette park. let's show you what is happening on the twitter-verse.
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lso take a look at facebook comments. "a breach has been made, used.al weapons have been if the president doesn't do anything he will be criticized. i believe in his ability to follow the international rules. pray for him and our nation instead of cursing him." one more item for you -- senator -- corker saying
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as we have said, as this develops we will cover it all on our c-span networks. if you missed his remarks, we have those for you on our website, www.c-span.org. we will take you back to the replay of wednesday posse vents, the 50th anniversary of reverend martin luther king's i have a dream speech. we will pick up with bernice king right about where we left off. >> president obama, president carter and clinton, congressman
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lewis and ambassador young. to my brother martin, dexter scott , i waso my entire family five months old when my father delivered his speech. i was probably somewhere crawling on the floor or taking . nap after having a meal today is a glorious day because today we have witnessed the manifestation of the beloved community. we thank everyone for their presence here today. today we have been honored to have three presence -- three president of .he united states today we are honored to have many men and women and the localization of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington.
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ago there was not a single woman on the program. to have not honored just one young person but several young people on the program it is certainly a tribute to the legacy of so many people that have gone before us. today in the symbolic shadow of abraham lincoln my father stood in this ring.pot to let freedom 50 years ago he commissioned us to go back to our various cities , states and villages and let freedom ring. the sounderation of
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of that freedom message has amplified and 1963. coasteir case and coast-to- throughout this nation and even to send out ald clarion call to let freedom wearing. of 1965ng rights act and the fair housing act of 1968, we have witnessed great stride toward freedom for all regardless of race, color, gender, relying, national origin, disability, class or sexual orientation. 50 years later in this year of jubilee, we are standing once
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again in the shadow of that great emancipator, having been summoned to these hallowed grounds to reverberate the message of that great liberate or. for there is a remnant from 1963, congressman lewis, ambassador young, that still remain who has come to bequeath that message of freedom it a new generation of people who must now carry that message in their towns, their community. amongst their tribes and amongst their nations of the world. we must keep the sound and the message of freedom and justice going. it was my mother as has been said previously coretta scott king who in fact 30 years ago assembled a coalition of conscience that started us on this whole path of remembering the anniversary of the march on washington. she reminded us that struggle is
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a never-ends progress. you earn it and win in every generation. so away come once again to let freedom ring. because if freedom stops ringing then the sound will disappear and the atmosphere will be charged with something else. 50 years later we come once again to this special landing on the steps of the lincoln memorial to reflect, to renew, and to rejuvenate for the continued struggle of freedom and justice. for today, 50 years later, my friends, we are still crippled by practices and policies steeped in racial pride, hatred and hostility. some of which have us standing our ground rather than finding common ground. we are still chained by economic disparity, income and class
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inequality, and conditions of poverty for many of god's children around this nation and the world. we are still bound by a cycle of civil unrest and inherent social biases in our nation and world that often times degenerate into violence and destruction, especially against women and children. we are at this landing and now we must break the cycle. the prophet king spoke the vision. he made it plain. and we must run with it in this generation. his prophetic vision and magnificent dream described the yearning of people all over the world to have the freedom to prosper in life, wigs the right to pursue one's aspirations, purposes, dreams, well-being, without oppressive, depressive,
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repressive practices, behaviors, laws and conditions that diminish one's dignity and denies one life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. the freedom to participate in government, which is the right to have a voice and a say in how you are represented, regulate and governed without threats of tyranny, disenfranchisement, exclusionary tactics and behavior and to have freedom to peacefully co-exist which is the right to be respected in one's self-hood, individuality and uniqueness without fear of attack, assault or abuse. in 1967, my fare asked a poignant and critical question. where do we go from here? chaos or community? and we say with a resounding voice no to chaos, and yes to community.
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if we are going to rid ourselves of the chaos, then away must make -- we must make a necessary shift. nothing is more tragic than for us to fail to achieve new attitudes and new mental outlooks. we have an opportunity to reset the means by which we live, work and enjoy our lives. if we are going to continue to struggle of freedom and create true community we will have to be relentless in exposing, confronting and ridding ourselves of the mind set of pride and greed and selfishness and hate and lust and fear and idleness and lack of purpose and lack of love as my brother said for our neighbor. we must seize this moment. the dawning of a new day. the emergence of a new generation who has postured to change the world through collaborative power.
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as i close, i call upon my brother by the name of nehemiah who was also in the midst of rebuilding a community and in the midst of rebuilding a community he brought the leaders, rumors and rest of the people together and told them that the work is great and large and we are widely separated one from another on the wall. but when you hear the sound of the trumpet and might i say we you hear the sound of the bells today, come to that spot and our god will fight with us. so, today we are going to let freedom ring all across this >> if freedom is going to ring in libya and syria and
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egypt and florida, then we must reach across the table, feed each other, and let freedom ring. [applause] >> in 1963, the 16th street baptist church was bomb. the bell was safe. thanks to the mayor of birmingham, that bell is here. to help celebrate dr. king's .egacy, let freedom ring
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>> these will come our next performer by tony and grammy award winner, heather -- father ? ? help your children ? ? don't let them fall by the to love one another ?
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heaven might find ♪ jesus is love. down.'t let you i know. forever in my heart. in my heart. ♪
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♪ his love is power glory ♪ ♪yeah
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♪ ♪ [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states of america. [applause]
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>> to the king family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much, to president clinton, president carter, vice president biden and jill, fellow americans -- five decades ago, today, americans came to this honored place to lay claim to a promise made.
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we hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal. they are endowed by their creator, certain inalienable rights. among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. in 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise, those truths remained unmet. and so they came by the thousands.
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from every corner of our country. men and women, young and old, blacks who long for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others. across the land, congregations sent them off with food and prayer. in the middle of the night, entire blocks of harlem came out to wish them well. with the few dollars they script from their labor -- skrimped from their labor, they set on buses. those with less money hitchhiked or walked. they were seamstresses and
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steelworkers, students and teachers. maids and porters. they shared simple males and bumped -- meals and bunked together. on a hot summer day, they assembled here in our nation's capital under the shadow of the great emancipator to offer testimony of injustice. to petition their government for redress. to awaken america's long slumbering conscience. we rightly and best remember dr. king's soaring oratory that day, how he gave hope to millions,
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offered a solvation pass -- his words belong to the ages, possessing a power unmatched in our time. we would do well to recall that day it self also belonged to those ordinary people, whose names never appeared in the history books. never got on tv. many had gone to segregated schools, sat at segregated lunch counters. they lived in towns where they could not vote, in cities where their votes did not matter. there were couples in love who could not marry. soldiers who fought for freedom
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aboard -- abroad that they found denied to them at home. they had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire host. -- fire-hosed. they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate. and yet, they chose a different path. in the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors. in the face of violence, they stood up and sat in with the moral force of nonviolence. willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws. their cells swelling with the sounds of freedom songs.
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a lifetime of indignities that taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that god grants. they learned through hard experience what frederick douglass once taught, that freedom is not given, it must be won. discipline, persistence, and faith. that was the spirit they brought here that day. that was the spirit that young people like john lewis brought to that destination. that was the spirit that they carried with them like a torch back to their cities and neighborhoods. that steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to come, through boycotts and voter
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registration fraud. smaller marches, far from the spotlight. through the loss of four little girls in birmingham, and the agony of dallas and california and memphis. through setbacks and heartbreaks, that flame of justice flickered. it never died. because they kept marching, america changed. because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. because they marched, the voting rights law was assigned.

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