People’s Organization for Progress statement for the August 28th, 2010 Reclaim the Dream march in Washington DC, written by Chairman Lawrence Hamm. Download handout here.

We gather in Washington, DC today to reclaim Dr. Kings’ Dream from those who would have us forget his legacy of struggle for racial, social, economic justice and peace; and who want to roll back the hard won gains of the Civil Rights Movement.

Racial Equality
Dr. King fought for racial equality. While progress was made during the Civil Rights Era, his dream has not yet been fully realized. Racial inequality, racial segregation, racial discrimination, racial injustice, racial violence and hatred, and police brutality are still a part of everyday life in the United States. We have not yet reached the “post-racial” promised land. We must continue the fight for racial equality and justice.

Economic Justice
Dr. King worked to bring an end to poverty and economic injustice. He believed that there had to be a radical redistribution of power and wealth in America. And Dr. King wanted Congress to pass an Economic Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, this was not achieved in his lifetime. In fact, there are more poor people and twice as many unemployed in the United States today than there were in 1968 when Dr. King was assassinated. The gap between the rich and the rest of us is wider than it has ever been. We demand President Obama and Congress implement a living wage jobs program to put people back to work now, put measures in place to stop home foreclosures and evictions and create a universal health care program that will provide everyone with quality health care. The banks got a bailout, now it’s time to bail out the people.

Dr. King was an opponent of the Vietnam War and United States imperialism. He wanted an end to that war and he wanted money being spent on the war to be used to eliminate poverty at home.

If Dr. King were alive today he would oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as he opposed the war in Vietnam. We demand President Obama and Congress end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring all the troops home now and use the billions being spent on those wars for jobs, housing, education, health care and other domestic needs.

A Legacy of Struggle
Dr. King had a dream for a better world. He was a visionary. However, he was a man of action.

He marched, protested and was arrested numerous times. Let us make today’s march a new beginning. We must continue to organize and mobilize for equality, justice and peace when we return to our cities, towns and communities, and we must do this all year round. Let’s keep the pressure on!

Study Dr. King’s Ideas
Dr. King wrote a number of books that POP recommends you read. These include ’Measure Of A Man’, ‘Stride Toward Freedom’, ‘Strength To Love’, ’Why We Can’t Wait’, ‘Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?’ and ’Trumpet of Conscience’. We recommend you start with ‘Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?’ ‘A Testament Of Hope’ edited by Dr. James Washington provides a good overview of Dr. King’s writings and speeches. We urge you to form study groups with family members and friends to read and discuss Dr. King’s works together.

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