Issued August 26, 2016
WASHINGTON - SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer, Gerry Hudson, issued the following statement honoring the 53rd anniversary of the March on Washington.
“Fifty-three years ago, over 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington, DC, at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was a day designed by a unified coalition to highlight the political, economic and social challenges that Black people were facing in this country and spark a change that would open doors to the American dream.
“When I think about the progress that we have made since then, I am filled with great pride and concern. I’m proud of great accomplishments like the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the signing of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. And I’m concerned that while these great victories have moved us forward they are not sufficient in eliminating the chains of systemic racism that deny equitable access to safe and affordable housing, education, employment, living wages, healthcare and full participation in our democracy.
“Today, we find ourselves fighting once again for voting protections through the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, a living wage with the Fight for $15 and a union, an end to state-sanctioned violence against Black people and an end to the senseless gun violence that plagues communities across our country.
“Many courageous Americans risked their lives and freedom to organize the March On Washington. We honor those sacrifices by never losing faith and continuing to stand up against all forms of injustice in unified coalitions that include climate justice, reproductive justice, immigration justice and LGBTQIA activists that come together in workplaces, the streets and at the ballot box to build a more just society.
“We must take a stand now to end structural racism and create a world where everyone, no matter the color of their skin, land of origin, sexual preference or gender can participate, prosper and reach their full potential. We must fully reckon with our country’s legacy of anti-Black racism. The responsibility belongs to all of us. Together, we are the most powerful force for change and we have the power to win a better future for all families.”