MLK’s Speech Inspires Immigrants Working for Justice

August 28, 2013

Gebe Martinez, 703-731-9505, [email protected]

Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech Inspires Today’s DREAMers and All Immigrants Working for Justice

WASHINGTON — On the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “I Have A Dream” speech, the National Immigration Law Center observes this day with a rededication to our continuing fight for equality and justice. The following is a statement by Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“A half-century ago, when civil rights leaders organized the March on Washington as a call for “jobs and freedom,” Dr. King stood in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke of his dream, making an indelible mark on the consciousness of our nation. His speech was inspired by his belief in racial and economic equality as well as in the promise of the Declaration of Independence—that all of God’s children would one day be treated equally and not be denied their unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“To the hundreds of thousands gathered 50 years ago today, Dr. King said 1963 was not the end but the beginning of the fight for democracy and the pursuit of his dream that everyone be judged ‘not … by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’

“We share his dream that all people—regardless of their race, gender, or immigration or economic status—be treated equally, fairly, and humanely. In our advocacy on behalf of low-income immigrants and their families, we strive to ensure that all people have equal access to justice, education, government resources and economic opportunities, and are able to achieve their full potential as human beings.

“As many—especially poor people of color— in this country know all too well, Dr. King’s dream and vision of a more just and equal America is still being realized. Income inequality is at historic levels, with many living in extreme poverty and growing numbers of children going to bed hungry. Workers cannot make a living and support families on the minimum wage, and many are still exploited and retaliated against for demanding dignity and justice on the job. Racial profiling by law enforcement, especially of young men of color, continues. Immigrants are unfairly denied access to affordable health care and other programs supported by the taxes they pay.

“But we still dream for a better America.

“Immigrants come to this country because they believe in the American Dream. Those who were brought here as children without documents call themselves ‘DREAMers’ as they pray for the chance to become citizens. They and their parents—and all immigrants—believe in a just and fair democracy and have not given up the hope of living, working, and fulfilling their dreams as American citizens.

“For Dr. King and others who bravely fought for civil rights a half-century ago, we are mindful that the work for racial and economic justice continues. And we will continue to work, inspired by Dr. King’s vision and our shared dreams for an even greater American future enriched by the contributions of immigrants.”

# # #