Most journeys have a beginning and endpoint, and today, we commemorate a march on this continual journey to justice, equity, and true freedom. This is a journey that began when the first Black people were brought, against their will, to the land that would become the United States of America.
This is a journey that has seen Black people enslaved, separated from families, abused, and tortured. This is a journey that has been a part of the American story from it’s very beginning. This has been a journey that, thanks to so many women and men who have gone unnamed and whose stories have gone untold, have believed and fought for a better life. They saw a better world for us all. This is a journey that has seen voting rights attained and citizenship granted. This is a journey that has seen Jim Crow come and officially go while unofficially still present. This has not been a quiet journey. This journey has been moved along by words, shared experiences, stories, and music. This is a journey that has been powered by faith, strength, and the very belief of human worth.
Today marks a very important stop on our journey. On August 28th, 1963, more than 250,000 Black people and allies organized, met, and created the March on Washington in support of jobs, justice, equity, and real freedom. People arrived on trains, in busses, in carpools, from across the nation. A program of inspiration and leadership compelled America to recognize that Black people were not fully enjoying the rights promised to us all. One hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, as Dr. King said, we are still not free.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared that his Dream, the American Dream, is not yet fully realized. John Lewis, the youngest speaker of the day, demanded that our government protect civil rights workers under attack. All of the leaders who spoke inspired the crowd of a quarter million people to continue the journey.
This year, as we still reel from the painful effects of Coronavirus, the loss of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the most recent shooting of Jacob Blake, activists from Milwaukee, a city not far from Kenosha Wisconsin, arrived in Washington DC today, after WALKING for 24 days. This year, we are still fighting many of the same fights. We are fighting at the ballot boxes for access. We are fighting for criminal justice reform. We are fighting for safe, comfortable housing. We are fighting for equal paychecks. We are fighting for access to capital. We are fighting for equal representation in our governments and boardrooms. We are fighting to stay alive.
On this anniversary, I chose to honor our fellow Brothers and Sisters in sports who will not just shut up and dribble, but rather, stand up and lead. I read the words of Lebron James’ “I Promise” to four young Kings of Color at The Lit Bar in The Bronx, thanks to our local Shero Noelle Santos. I want them to Dream Bigger Dreams.
We must continue the journey. We have faith. We have hope. We still believe. We are all on this journey together, towards Election Day and beyond. We are on this journey together. 57 years later, let us continue to DREAM.