Rev. Al Sharpton

*In the wake of the NAACP’s battle with the Tea Party and the Breitbart/Shirley Sherrod fiasco, a press release from Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) is calling for a meeting of minds on the left to deal with the “back and forth” with the Right Wing:

Forty-seven years after the historic March on Washington, Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network and leaders from his over 47 National Action Network chapters across the country, along with progressive heads of organizations, unions and clergy will lead a mass rally and march in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 28, 2010 to RECLAIM THE DREAM.  The rally will start at 11:00 a.m. at Dunbar High School followed by a march to the King Memorial.

While across town at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial the conservative tea party members and TV host Glenn Beck will hijack the dream, civil rights activists will convene at Dunbar High School to shed light upon key issues that have diminished the dream.  On August 28th, 1963, Dr. King went to Washington and held a rally for the precise purpose of pushing for increased federal action and involvement to nullify all discriminatory state and local practices.  As we prepare to mark the 47th anniversary of his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on this date, Glenn Beck and others push for an expansion of states’ rights – the exact antithesis of the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s legacy. Joining NAN will be a cross-sector of organizations and principles including, but not limited to: Martin Luther King III, President, Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., Tom Joyner, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, Marc H. Morial, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League, Melanie Campbell, Executive Director & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Inc , Media Matters, and many other religious groups, labor unions, and organizations.

According to Rev. Al Sharpton and NAN, when we study the intense struggle for civil rights in this nation, we quickly – and rightfully so – find ourselves analyzing the life and legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We learn of his tireless efforts to achieve equality and justice for all of humanity, as we pass on anecdotes of sit-ins, marches and boycotts to our children.  Our schools highlight the selfless sacrifice of Dr. King in rooting out the stains of racism and achieving integration across the country.  But what we as a collective sometimes forget to impress upon the next generation is the depth to which Dr. King was an advocate for federal government as he knew it was the only effective way to ensure a unified system of equality in every state.  Today, the Tea Party stands to break that national stance on justice and in turn, break the crux of what the civil rights movement symbolized and what Dr. King fought and literally died for.

During the country’s much needed conversation bout race, we cannot glance over what the Tea Party as a whole stands for:  smaller government and states’ rights.  It is a group so ardently focused on state sovereignty that talk of secession and state self-regulation has become as commonplace as the bigoted signs visibly present at their gatherings.    And it is an ideology that should raise alarm bells to anyone who believes in true freedom and justice for all.

During the struggle for civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was more often than not, the federal government that intervened when state policies failed us.  At Clinton High School in Tennessee, it was National Guard troops that protected Black students as they entered a desegregated educational facility for the first time.  And it was the federal Supreme Court that ruled segregation resulted in unfair and unequal practices to begin with in the infamous Brown vs. Board of Education decision.  It was federal policies that allowed Blacks and other folks of color to exercise their right to vote and voice their opinion in the politics and social issues of the day.  It was national regulation of discriminatory housing and zoning laws that afforded the marginalized a shot at the American dream.  And if we take it all the way back to the days of emancipation, it was a President and a federal government that ended the abhorrent institution of slavery

The dream Dr. King and civil rights leaders envisioned on that important day was to resolve inequality in all areas of society. They dreamt of a society that provided equal protection under the law, as well as equal economic and social opportunity for each citizen. Great progress has been made. Still, we must not lose our way with premature celebration or reckless distortion of Dr. King’s goals. No day is more important to refocus and reclaim than the day the world stood still and heard the dream eloquently spoken by Dr. King, forty-seven years ago.

Saturday, August 28, 2010
11:00 a.m. – Dunbar High School
1301 New Jersey Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC

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Rachel Noerdlinger
President – Noerdlinger Media
[email protected]