Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement today to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington:
“Today’s 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic dream is a moment for national reflection about how far we have come towards ending inequality and discrimination, and how far we still have left to go.
“Dr. King spoke of ‘the fierce urgency of now’ – which I hope this Congress will embrace. Among the many issues requiring that fierce urgency of now is restoring the Voting Rights Act this year ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. The Voting Rights Act had been a cornerstone of ensuring the rights won in the Civil Rights movement continue to stand strong today, until it was essentially gutted by the Supreme Court this past June. The right to vote, that too many died to obtain, is a sacred human right, and ensuring that every vote counts is a cornerstone of our democracy, that must be embraced by both sides of the aisle.
“Today’s display of grass roots activism goes to the very heart of what our democracy is about and will no doubt give voice to the fierce urgency of now that we should all feel in moving our ongoing march for equality and justice forward.
“Earlier this year, I was humbled to have the opportunity to reflect with Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders in Selma, Alabama for the annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage. I will never forget the re-enactment of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge led by Rep. Lewis nearly 50 years ago as a civil rights activist.
“I salute everyone who worked so tirelessly 50 years ago to make Dr. King’s vision a reality and ensure our country held up to its fundamental values of equality, justice and fairness for all – and everyone today in Washington who are carrying that torch forward.”