Statement of California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton on 50-Year Anniversary of the March on Washington

Fifty years ago today, over 200,000 men, women and children took part in what would become known simply as the "March on Washington." They gathered to demonstrate and advocate for economic, civil and voting rights and for equality under law. 

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech. From that day forward, Dr. King's words echoed in the hearts of people of good conscience not just in America, but across the globe. 

Legal and political victories followed the march when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It is not without irony then that the U.S. Supreme Court turned back the hands of time and the hands of progress this year when they overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The court's decision is a reminder that we must never cease in protecting hard fought gains.

Recently, Congressman John Lewis, who as a student organizer participated in the march, remarked that the vote is ‘the most powerful nonviolent tool' we possess in a democratic society. He is absolutely right.  

Democrats and Republicans of good conscience must work to mitigate the damage caused by this Supreme Court in order to ensure the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ring true today and tomorrow for future generations.

 

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