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‘Reflecting Back… Marching Forward’

A broad coalition commemorates the 55th anniversary of the March on Washington by recommitting to the struggle for racial and economic justice.


SEATTLE (Aug. 29, 2018) — A statewide coalition of community, labor and faith leaders gathered on Tuesday to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, which featured the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Participants celebrated the renaming of MLK Jr. Civil Rights Memorial Park, expressed support for the NFL Players Association’s grievance of the NFL owners’ “stand and show respect” policy for the national anthem, and rededicated themselves to the struggle for racial and social justice with a call to action on Initiative 1000, a proposed Initiative to the Legislature that would repeal Washington state’s I-200 ban on affirmative action policies. The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has endorsed I-1000, for which the signature-gathering campaign is now under way.

Speakers at the commemoration’s program, entitled “Reflecting Back… Marching Forward,” at Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church included the Rev. James Stalling, U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, and several state legislators and other community leaders.

“Fifty five years ago today, 250,000 people gathered to demand jobs and freedom,” said WSLC Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson at Tuesday’s event. “They knew that the fight for civil rights and the fight for economic justice are inseparable… True civil rights requires economic justice. As the Reverend Dr. King said, ‘What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?'”

Dodson acknowledged that the struggle for economic justice continues today amid attacks on unions, unprecedented income inequality, and continuing racial injustice.

“At the WSLC, we are hosting a Race and Labor Summit on September 14 and 15 to plan ways to address structural and institutional racism in our workplaces and our union halls,” Dodson said. “We are looking at all of our practices and the policies we fight for with a racial equity lens. We cannot fight for economic justice without addressing social justice. We fight for jobs and freedom.”

See Dodson’s full remarks.

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