Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Statement on 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 27, 2013
Press Release

Commemorates Civil Rights Achievements and Calls for Continued Progress

SACRAMENTO, CA – The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement’s “March on Washington” is tomorrow. Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) released the following statement in advance of this historic occasion:

“Fifty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended on our nation’s capital with a dream and a hope that their nation – our nation – would live up to the best of our values. The participants in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were fighting to forge an America that truly embraces liberty and justice for all.

“Thanks to the courage and commitment of civil rights heroes too numerous to mention, our nation ushered in an era of strong civil rights protections with the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. We were a nation moving closer to our values.

“Unfortunately, fifty years later, thanks to an extreme and unprecedented decision by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, and the right to vote is under attack. States like Texas and North Carolina have pursued policies designed to disenfranchise minority voters, young voters, college students, and underprivileged voters. We must fight back against voter disenfranchisement and discrimination in all forms.

“On this, the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark March on Washington, I call on my colleagues in Congress to restore the full authority of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The original VRA and its 2006 reauthorization were overwhelmingly bipartisan. We can – and we must – write a new VRA with the support of both parties. In a constitutional democracy, all of our rights are derived from the right to vote. We must give the Justice Department the tools it needs to stop states from denying our fellow Americans the right to vote. The fight to realize Dr. King’s dream continues.”

Click here to read a Daily Republic article on Congressman Garamendi’s event in Solano County to honor and document the historic service of African-American World War II veterans.

Click here to watch an Anti-Defamation League video in which Garamendi calls for renewed efforts to fight bigotry. This was part of the ADL’s video series on “Imagining a World Without Hate.”

The Department of Justice recently announced that it would begin to identify hate crimes against American Sikhs and other at-risk communities following an advocacy effort from Rep. Garamendi and others. Click here to learn more.