Communities of Color March on Washington To Put America Back to Work
A broad coalition of local and national civil rights and economic justice organizations are organizing a massive mobilization to bring tens of thousands of people to Washington on Sunday, March 21 for a dramatic demonstration of support for inclusive economic polices and citizenship for all of America’s families. The March for America is an opportunity for communities of color to show their power and demand answers to our most pressing issues— the need for jobs and the need to fix the broken immigration system that has created a second class citizenry among us, hurting families, wages and working conditions for everyone.
This historic march, that will take place on the National Mall, is reminiscent of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The March for America will speak to a similar theme of racial harmony as Dr. King spoke about then. NAACP President, Ben Jealous, is scheduled to speak along with several other prominent African American and Black immigrant leaders about the need to address the job crisis.
“Blacks and Latinos as well as other racial and ethnic minorities are facing unprecedented unemployment rates,” said Jealous. “The status quo solutions of Washington aren’t addressing the problem in a way that both meet the needs of our constituencies and also solves the nation’s economic crisis in a real way. We need a new paradigm that not only restores our unemployment rates to pre-economic crisis, but addresses the systemic long-standing unemployment disparities our country has faced for generations.”
Unemployment rates are in the double digits for both Latino and Black workers according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and job opportunities for everyone, everywhere are scarce. And yet, there are real and perceived tensions between African American and immigrant communities, particularly around the issue of immigration and jobs. This solidarity march aims to begin the process of bringing the two communities together at a time when unity is necessary to push for opportunity and real change in Washington on a multitude of critical issues. Students, unemployed workers, grassroots, civil and immigrant rights leaders will travel from as far away as California to participate in the March which starts at 1pm with an interfaith service, followed by the official program at 2pm.
“Times are tough, people are hurting and the country needs everyone’s contribution,” said Reverend Derrick Harkins of the 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC. “We must come together as a community and as a nation. We need government intervention on a large scale and every hand to help lift America’s economy back to growth, stability and innovation.”
Germonique R. Ulmer, M.A.
Director of Media Relations
The Center for Community Change
1536 U Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009