From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on 40th Anniversary of the March on Washington

August 27, 2003

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on tomorrow’s 40th anniversary of the March on Washington:

"On the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington, we honor the quiet determination of the more than 250,000 Americans who came to their nation’s capital to demand justice. We pay tribute to their bravery, their commitment, and their wisdom.

"By challenging the conscience of our country and affirming our dearest values, the marchers demonstrated that ‘liberty and justice for all' is not just a pledge but a fundamental principle that must guide us as a people.

"We can all quote the 'I have a dream' part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at the march, but other words he spoke also hold special meaning for us today. Dr. King said: 'We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism…Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.'

"Forty years later, we can honor the marchers and the meaning of that day by rejecting the 'tranquilizing drug of gradualism.' We can rededicate ourselves to boldly building a just America.

"We must build a country of opportunity where all people have the chance to realize their God-given potential. We must build a country that values diversity, where we stand together as one people. We must ensure that every citizen has the right to vote and that every vote is counted.

"Dr. King challenged us. Let us honor him by building an America that makes 'justice a reality for all of God's children.'"




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