The build up to the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream” speech has begun with tens of thousands of people gathering in the capital.
Many speakers talked about the progress made in race relations, but noted King’s objectives remained incomplete.
“I think anybody who walks in the United States and anywhere else in the world stands for human dignity and human rights, stands in the shadow of this man,” said one woman.
“I am very concerned about the whole issue of Trayvon Martin. We want to make sure that this does not happen to any more young people in America,” said another.
Others expressed concern at the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, regretting that much progress remained words, not deeds.
“Martin Luther King, Jr pointed out that we had good promises, but not good practice. And we had too many people in the shadows of life. We had to bring them into the sunshine,” said the Democrat’s House whip Steny Hoyer.
Among those leading the procession were the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Democrat House leader and former speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with prominent African-American figures from the political, sports and arts spheres.
“Remembering Martin Luther King, many speakers have pointed out that parts of his American dream are still unfulfilled. Jobs, freedom and social justice remain challenging objectives. And many see the widening wealth gap as America’s number one problem,” says euronews’ Stefan Grobe.