Hoyer Remarks at the National Action to Realize the Dream Rally

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“Fifty years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood here and put into mighty words the hopes and dreams and frustrations of millions of Americans, black and white, that the people of this land were not yet fully free – and that none could enjoy the promise of our democracy until all could enjoy it.

“We all know his famous words, the dream he shared of replacing enmity with brotherhood.

“His speech was an incredible call to action – one that helped me channel my own activism for civil rights into a lifelong commitment to justice and equality, as it did for so many others.

“But what calls us here once more was the pronouncement by Dr. King that: ‘1963 is not an end but a beginning.’

“America today has much to be proud of, in no small part thanks to Dr. King, my friend and civil rights hero John Lewis, and the countless others – many whose names we do not know – who wrote, spoke out, stood up, marched, bled, languished in jail cells, sat-in, and endured what Dr. King called ‘creative suffering.’

“The historic election of President Obama testifies to the progress we have made – which would not have been possible if not for the millions who sacrificed and raised their voices for change.

“But we are here to declare that we shall not rest, nor shall we be satisfied by the way things now stand.

“Too many of our people still inhabit islands of poverty and inequality.

“Too many despair at fewer opportunities to find good jobs that pay well and provide their families with a chance to reach the middle class.

“Too many have no voice in our democracy because they are told they have no valid I.D. with which to vote, or that they have to choose between going to work or to the polls on a Tuesday.

“And when I say ‘too many,’ I mean one is too many. 

“Until, as Dr. King said, quoting Isaiah, ‘the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight’ for every single individual American dream, none of us can achieve our common dream. 

“Until Congress takes concerted action to create jobs and make sure those jobs bring economic security, no American dream will be secure.

“This is the work we commit ourselves to today.

“As we go forth from this place once more, in the shadow of Lincoln and the footsteps of King, let us resolve that, when our children and grandchildren return here fifty years from now, they can mark the commemoration of a work completed – of a dream realized.

“Until that day, let us continue our march forward for justice, equality, jobs, and opportunity for all.”