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August 1963 – August 2023: March On Washington

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l-r: Prof. Emeritus Jerome Dancis, University of Maryland (AFT); Gail Malmgreen (New York Labor History Association); Barry Dancis; Frank Silberstein (AFGE); Benjamin Ross; Arieh Lebowitz and Martin Schwartz (Jewish Labor Committee).

August 26th, 2023 - Washington, DC: As many as 50,000 people again gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, at the 60th Anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington. And, again, we were there.

Despite significant progress in the last 60 years, there is a growing wave of intimidation, hate crimes and hate speech. Attacks on Jews, African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Muslims in the U.S., and on people of diverse identities based on race, religion, gender, sexual identity and cultural heritage and affiliation are on the rise. That is why we came to Washington.

Six decades ago, on August 28, 1963, at the first “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph and with the civil rights leader Bayard Rustin as its principal organizer, we gathered at an historic event, organized by a broad coalition of civil rights, labor, and religious groups. One of the largest political demonstrations for human rights in the history of United States, it was designed to put the political, economic, and social discrimination suffered by African Americans squarely on the national agenda.

Today, in 2023, there is still much work to do. Racism, bigotry and discrimination persist. Our society is fractured, and the result, too often is violence. We see it in the headlines, on the streets, and outside and inside our houses of worship. And that is why we and so many others assembled on a hot Saturday in our nation's capital, coming from the civil and human rights movement, the labor movement, and a range of Jewish and other ethnic and faith-based organizations. We were there to join with others, to reaffirm our shared commitment to freedom, equality, economic and social equity and respect for our common humanity.