Get Into It: A Feminist Guide to the National Action to Realize The Dream March

By Carmen Rios
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50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream with a nation. But the dream’s not over.

The official celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington – which is being called the National Action To Realize the Dream – will be on August 24. There will be a massive amount of people turning out from around the nation (and you can be one of them, because we’ve got information on the available buses below). Since there’s still so much work to do, there’s a huge coalition of support behind the commemorative march. The Feminist Majority Foundation is a proud member of that coalition, which is being led by the National Action Network. 

On Saturday, August 24, 2013 we will gather at 8AM at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to stand together against the recent attack on voter rights, against Stand Your Ground and racial profiling, and to continue to raise awareness on unemployment, poverty, gun violence, immigration, gay rights and other critical issues affecting our nation. 50 years ago when we marched on Washington it was an historic event that lead to the passage of the very civil rights legislation that ended Jim Crow and began the modern era of civil rights. It brought us our dignity, our humanity and our march to realize the dream that so many had given their lives for.

50 years later we need you as much as we did in 1963. Today, the first African American President in the history of our nation sits in the White House. That would not have been possible without the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court in the final days of its term this year has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and thereby have place our right to vote in jeopardy. We must turn out by the hundreds of thousands in Washington DC on August 24th and we need your financial commitment to ensure our success.

No Justice. No Peace!

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We’ll be marching for jobs, justice, and freedom. The issues encompassed by the ongoing celebration include LGBT rights, fair and equal pay, reforming immigration laws, workers’ rights, voting rights, and the empowerment of young people.

The Civil Rights Movement and the March on Washington changed history, but we have yet to realize MLK’s dream. According to The Nation:

The 1963 march remains a singularly important event in American history: the first time the country really understood what the civil rights movement stood for. The effect was greatest on the marchers themselves. “Many of the people at the march had never been to Washington before,” says Bond. “It was evidence to them that they had done something great and that great things would follow.”

Fifty years later, “there is, unfortunately, too much parallel between now and then,” says Jealous. “This is a moment for all of us to be rebaptized in the struggle.”

Events We Recommend

We encourage you to come out on August 24 and march with us in a feminist contingent (details TBA!), but we also encourage you to take part in the celebrations, summits, and workshops leading up to the march and following the day of action. There’s a ton to get involved with, and the National Action to Realize the Dream planning team even needs volunteers. So here’s a feminist guide to the march and the rest of it. You know. To keep you busy and stuff.

You can view a full calendar of events here.

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+ 10th Annual Black Youth Vote! National Civic Leadership and Organizing Training Conference: Thursday, August 22 from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday, August 23 from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

National Education Association
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Hosted by NCBCP Black Youth Black Youth Vote!, NAACP, NEA, Generational Alliance,
NAN Youth Move

To Register go to www.ncbcp.org

+ Celebrating the Legacy of Women in the Movement: Thursday, August 22 from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM

US Capitol, Cannon Caucus Building, Cannon Caucus Room
Washington, DC
Hosted by NCBCP Black Women’s Roundtable, National Council of Negro Women, National Action Network in partnership w/The King Center

To register go to: www.ncbcp.org

+ Drum Majors for Justice Redeem the Dream National Summit: Friday, August 23 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Grand Hyatt Hotel
1000 H St. NW
(Independence Ballroom)
Doors Open at 8:30AM
Open to the Public

+ Drum Majors for Justice Future Leaders Celebration: Friday, August 23 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Freedom Plaza
14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Open to the Public

+ National Town Hall Meeting on Poverty and Economic Empowerment: Friday, August 23 from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Washington D. C. Convention Center
Washington, DC
Hosted by Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC Poverty Institute
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

To register go to http://www.nationalsclc.org

+ NATIONAL ACTION TO REALIZE THE DREAM: Saturday, August 24 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

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RSVP on Facebook, Register at NAN, or call 877-626-4651 to get on a bus and come on down.

The Feminist Majority Foundation, NOW, and other feminist organizations will be hosting a women’s contingent meet-up before the march: We’ll be gathering at 8 a.m. at the Albert Einstein Memorial, in front of the National Academy of Sciences building on Constitution Avenue. The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom/GWU. Once you exit the metro, simply walk down 23rd Street to Constitution Avenue and we’ll be in front of the memorial.

+ Global Freedom Festival: Monday, August 26 and Tuesday. August 27 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

West Potomac Park
Hosted by The King Center & National Park Service
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

+ “Let Freedom Ring” Closing Ceremony: Wednesday, August 28 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM Around the World

The Lincoln Memorial
Washington, DC
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
For more details go to: http://goo.gl/wE5bW1

President Obama will speak at the “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28. That will mark the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1963 March on Washington where Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Hosted by The King Center and The Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom (National Council of Negro Women, SCLC, National Urban League, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, National Action Network, National Council of Churches, Children’s Defense Fund)

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If your city, school, organization, or faith-based group wants to participate in coordinating a local Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action Bell Ringing at 3 PM please contact Steve Klein at SKlein@thekingcenter.org.

Help ‘Em Out: Call for Volunteers

The National Action To Realize The Dream March 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington will be an exciting chance for volunteers to help out and be a part of history. If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Matthew Rubin (MRR@cgkpartners.com) or Ebonie Riley (eriley@nationalactionnetwork.net).

Volunteers are needed formarshalling and maintanence, as well as the following committees:

  • Hospitality Committee
  • Security Committee
  • Credentials Committee
  • Lost & Found Committee
  • Clean Up Committee
  • Public Relations Committee
  • Medical/EMS Committee (certified volunteers only)
  • Transportation Committee
  • Program Committee (Needs 3-4 Couriers only)

Images all courtesy of the official march website.

By Carmen Rios

Carmen splits her time disparately between feminist rabble-rousing, writing, public speaking, and flower-picking. She is currently Communications Coordinator at the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Straddleverse and Feminism Editor at Autostraddle, and a writer with FORCE. Carmen is a SPARK alum and former Managing Editor of THE LINE Campaign blog. She's part of an oncoming anthology about girls' activism.

2 comments

  1. Yes, we need to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, but we also need to celebrate Women’s Equality Day along with it. August 26th marked the 93rd anniversary of American women’s suffrage. Feminists like Alice Paul went to prison and endured violence and demeaning psychological tests because they would not back down from insisting on women’s suffrage. It is male chauvinistic to celebrate the March on Washington without also celebrating Women’s Equality Day. Also, it is male chauvinistic to just have male speakers at the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. During the original March on Washington, there were NO women speakers. Dorothy Height, a prominent civil rights activists and feminist, was at the march and she said that she suffered in silence because the march was so male dominant.

    1. Hey, MB! You’re right: 50 years ago, all the speakers at the MOW were indeed male, and Height wasn’t the only woman to take notice or offense to the lack of women’s visibility in the movement. But it’s 2013 now! Speakers at the National Action include Nancy Pelosi, the family of Trayvon Martin, Terri O’Neill, Mary Kay Henry, and more TBA. We’re doing much better this time around. Thanks for commenting and reading, and hope to see you there 🙂

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