Remembering the March on Washington

August 28, 2023, will mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The original march was conceived by civil rights activist and labor leader, A. Philip Randolph. Randolph started his organizing in the 1930’s when he led efforts to help end both racial discrimination in defense industries and segregation in the U.S. armed forces. He leveraged his long-standing civil rights activism to draw support from all factions of the civil rights movement to participate in and support the March on Washington. He had originally planned the march to focus on economic disparities and push for a federal jobs program and raising the minimum wage. Ultimately, the march served to focus and spotlight the need for passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The original march on Washington is also remembered for the famous “I have a Dream” speech delivered by civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A little-known fact is this was not King’s prepared remarks which he abandoned. Instead, he extemporaneously launched into his soaring expression of his vision for his children and all children. As he has famously said, “no one is free until all are free.”

Dr. King’s wisdom continues to inform, inspire, and encourage the ongoing work to make his dream a reality for everyone. We cannot fight for the rights of some without fighting for the rights of all. We cannot address antisemitism or racism in a vacuum, and we cannot end hate directed at Jews without working with our partners to address bigotry and hate directed at others. That is why the ADL and other Jewish communal groups will be involved in the 60th anniversary March on Washington, in August of 2023. Jewish partners will join an array of other groups to demonstrate a strong show of support in the fight for democracy, social justice and equality, and civil rights.

JCRC is proud to continue our work locally to educate and advocate. Over the coming months, with cooperation from our local partners like Jewish Family Services, we will provide educational programs to learn about issues of concern and ways we can both protect ourselves and demand equal rights for all. These programs will begin shortly after the Jewish holidays and will include a program with the US Attorney’s office which will address how to identify and respond to hate crimes which may target us as the Jewish community, and other minority or marginalized communities.

May justice ring – for all of us.

For information about the work of JCRC please contact Deborah Oleshansky


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