Rev. Sharpton: Now that we have marched, let’s get to work

Rev. Al Sharpton | 8/29/2013, 9:52 a.m. | Updated on 8/29/2013, 9:52 a.m.
This past Saturday, approximately 175,000 to 200,000 people gathered and marched in Washington, D.C., to call attention to the civil ...
Rev. Al Sharpton

Many of the inequalities that existed years prior were only rectified when the federal government intervened and protected the rights of Blacks and other oppressed groups. Today, we are tragically hearing much of the same talk of states’ rights as we did decades ago. We must have federal laws that protect us against states’ nullifying and interposing their will over federal protections for all. State law and city policies like “Stand Your Ground” or stop-and-frisk in New York City violate people’s fundamental civil rights, which King referred to 50 years ago when he warned us of those whose lips drip with the words of interposition and nullification. We cannot allow this kind of history to repeat itself.

After the 1963 march, people succeeded in garnering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. With all the applause for our march on Saturday, the true success of this weekend will be what we achieve in the next year or two. Along with protecting the rights of minorities, we must protect workers’ rights, the rights of immigrants, women and the LGBT community. Right-to-work state laws must be confronted, and mayors (including Black mayors) cannot sacrifice union members to correct deficits that workers did not cause.

Half a century after King’s momentous march, we must continue to push for justice and equality; anything less will be a disservice to the memory of this great leader and all those who paved the way 50 years ago. It’s not enough to commemorate them—we must emulate them and do what they did in our time. Let’s get to work.