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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the influential march
For a link to the full transcript of Dr. King's speech, made on Aug. 28, 1963, on the Mall in Washington, D.C., go to:
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 28, 2013 – On Aug. 28, 1963, a young man named John Lewis, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, spoke at the March on Washington.
Today, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that march, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., spoke again. He is the only speaker to take the stage at both events, a half century apart.
SATURDAY, AUG. 24, 2013 – Hundreds rallied in downtown Portland today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.
The rally began at Chapman Square and moved on to South Waterfront Park. Sponsors included the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition, the Urban League of Portland, NAACP of Portland, ACLU of Portland, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and more.
“This celebration is important because the march helped a great nation to take a long, hard look at itself,” Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. Hales was out of town this week. “It helped the nation to consider its own quality and character, and to make real the promises of democracy.”
Besides the iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Aug. 28, 1963, march also led directly to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Speakers this week included U.S.Sen. Jeff Merkley of Portland and Jo Ann Hardesty of Oregon Action. Michael Alexander, president of the Urban League of Portland, was on hand, along with City Council members Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz, and a large array of the leaders from thePortlandfaith community.
Mayor Charlie Hales:
How far have we marched in the last 50 years? A pretty fair distance.
And the march continues.
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famed March on Washington, at which tens of thousands of Americans came to their nation’s capital, demanding jobs and freedom. On planes and buses, on trains and in cars, Americans from all corners of this nation came to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, to make their voices heard, and to hear the many now-iconic speeches, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The march helped a great nation to take a long, hard look at itself. It helped the nation to consider its own quality and character, and to make real the promises of democracy. The march led to changes, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This anniversary is an opportunity for Portlanders to take another hard look at our city, and to make a renewed commitment to residents who are afflicted by social and economic inequity.
Portlanders will come together at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at Chapman Square, under the leadership of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition, the Urban League of Portland, NAACP of Portland, ACLU of Portland, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and others. The march will proceed to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
But while we celebrate, we also have to ask: What’s next? This march hasn’t ended. Where else can it, must it, take us?
We see deep inequities in our communities, in the arenas of jobs and economics, in opportunity and education, in housing and services. The inequities might not be as brash and abrasive as Jim Crow Laws, or segregated schools.
Maybe that makes the 21st century inequities more insidious and harder to fight. It doesn’t make them any less real.
Per capita income for members of our African-American community is about $18,000 compared to $34,000 for whites. Thirty-eight percent of the black community receives federal food assistance, compared to only 13 percent of the white community. For many people of color, when compared to the city as a whole, incarceration rates are up and education rates are down.
We need economic revitalization with a focus on people of color and low-income communities if we’re ever going to break this cycle of injustice.
At the City of Portland, we are working with the Portland Police, and the police union, and the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition to take the tough look at the social contract between police and the community. This city and its Police Bureau do not have the full, unfettered trust of every facet of our community. This is a fact. We have to rebuild that trust. And yes: the federal Department of Justice has mandated this approach. But we embrace it as the right thing to do.
The Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, and the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights, also offer leadership on these issues. But every bureau and office in the city needs to keep equity at top of mind.
I encourage everyone to come out on Saturday, Aug. 24, to celebrate the anniversary of the march. There’s much to celebrate!
But let’s use this historic occasion to remind ourselves that the march continues. Dr. King urged us, “As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”
Let’s make that pledge.
-- Charlie Hales
Story by Ashley Watkins
MONDAY, AUG. 19, 2013 — Martin Luther King Jr. A. Philip Randolph. James Farmer. John Lewis.
These are just a few civil rights activists who led the historic March on Washington, held at the nation’s capitol on Aug. 28, 1963. These leaders, among others, were destined to change the way Americans thought about race, and to uplift the spirit of those who felt oppressed during the climax of the Jim Crow laws.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of this historic day, and the city o fPortland is proud to celebrate the march and its lasting impact.
“This celebration represents more than just one day in history, but an instrumental movement that continues to affect our nation,” Mayor Charlie Hales said of the remembrance.
Last week at City Council, several prominent figures in the community spoke on behalf of the declaration of Civil Rights Week (Aug. 23 to 30; see story, below). Many spoke of the march in relation to Civil Rights Week. The Rev. LeRoy Haynes of Allen Community Temple, Rabbi Joseph Wolf of Temple Havurah Shalom and Jo Ann Hardesty, executive director of Oregon Action, were the first few to address council.
The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition, the Urban League of Portland, NAACP of Portland, ACLU of Portland, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and many others have put forth an extensive effort in hopes that this celebration will be successful. Although this event will be subject to issues of the past, it also will touch on more current injustices that have recently struck our nation.
The celebration will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m. beginning at Chapman Square in downtown Portland. A march through the city will conclude around 1 p.m., with festivities at South Waterfront Park.
Editor's note: Intern Ashley Watkins, left, wrote this story and selected the historic photos. Ashley is a Grant High School graduate and a sophomore at the University of Oregon, majoring in communications.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14, 2013 -- The city of Portland will celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famed March on Washington, Saturday, Aug. 24.
The march, on Aug. 28, 1963, saw thousands of Americans standing on the steps of the nation’s capital, demanding jobs and freedom. The march helped the United States finds its way to such changes as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Portlanders will come together at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at Terry Schrunk Plaza, under the leadership of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition, the Urban League of Portland, NAACP of Portland, ACLU of Portland, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and others.
Speakers at the City Council meeting on Aug. 14 included the Rev. LeRoy Haynes of AllenTemple Community Church; Rabbi Joseph Wolf of Temple Havurah Shalom; Jo Ann Hardesty, executive director of Oregon Action and a former Oregon state representative; and Aubrey Harrison, program director, Basic Rights Oregon.
City Hall Exhibit Celebrates Housing Program
TUESDAY, AUG. 13, 2013 – The Portland Housing Bureau works to address the unmet housing needs of the people o fPortland. One way the bureau does that is by preserving existing affordable homes, particularly those serving seniors and people with disabilities.
In 2008, the bureau identified 11 privately owned buildings at risk of losing their affordability by 2013. Because of their highly desirable locations, more than 700 affordable homes were susceptible to being converted to market-rate rentals or sold as condominiums, displacing vulnerable residents.
An exhibition of the 11x13 Project is on display in the atrium, first floor of City Hall,1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. To learn more about the project, go to the City Housing Bureau's webpage.
Great Opportunity to Celebrate Portland and to Keep Neighborhoods Safe
THURSDAY, AUG. 8, 2013 – Portlanders from all corners of the community came out Tuesday to celebrate the 30th annual National Night Out by connect or reconnecting with neighbors.
Details are available at www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/nno.
“Yes, this is an opportunity to take back our streets, and to send a message about lawlessness, but it’s also an opportunity find out more about our great city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Step 1: Pick a neighborhood and have fun. Step 2: Make our community safer. Through National Night Out, we can do both!”
National Night Out promotes crime and drug prevention in neighborhoods around the nation, on the first Tuesday in August every year, for the last 30 years. When neighbors gather and know one another it sends a message to criminals that the neighborhood is strong, organized, and people care what happens.
Portland Fire & Rescue Ask You to Enjoy the 4th Safely and Legally
WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2013 – Portland Fire & Rescue wants to take this time to remind Portlanders to enjoy their holiday safely and legally.
Each year, people come together on the Fourth of July not only to celebrate America’s freedom, but also to spend time with family and friends, barbeque and maybe even set off a few fireworks.
Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Erin Janssens said it’s easy to remember which fireworks are OK, and which cross the safety line. “Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of any fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air, or more than six feet on the ground,” Janssens said. “These fireworks are illegal.”
Why are most fireworks illegal in Oregon? It’s not rocket science: Oregon law states that fireworks outside the definition listed by the chief are dangerous and strictly limit the use of these to professional displays only.
Illegal fireworks cause:
• Countless injuries including trauma and burns from unplanned explosions
• Reoccurring trauma to many returning veterans suffering the effects of their service to the nation
• Enormous property loss each year by causing fires to residences, landscape, and wildland
• Emotional trauma and anxiety to many small children and animals, who are especially vulnerable
• Environmental pollution, measureable in both air and noise
Portland Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman said geography plays a role in the confusion. “In Portland, our difficulty is that many of the fireworks that are illegal in Oregon are legal in Washington and readily available to anyone who can drive across the Columbia River,” he said.
Given the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic costs, as the population becomes more aware about these real consequences, it will become increasingly clear that illegal fireworks in the hands of amateurs is no longer '”patriotic.”
“Of special note this year: with our recent extremely hot and dry weather, the risk of fire from both legal and illegal fireworks has increased,” Commissioner Saltzman added.
As in past years, Portland Fire & Rescue will conduct "Operation Lower the Boom" to address illegal fireworks.
“In addition to a public information campaign, we will work with Portland Police to confiscate illegal fireworks and fine offenders,” Chief Janssens said. “I encourage you to report illegal firework activity through the City’s non-emergency number, (503) 823-3333.”
PF&R supports this time of celebration with our families and friends, and looks forward to watching the professional displays in our region. These displays are well planned events conducted by professionals in low-hazard areas. People wishing to avoid the noise of these explosions can plan ahead to protect themselves and their loved ones. However, people should be able to trust that their neighbors will obey the laws and not place them in jeopardy through this illegal activity. Also, for those intent on breaking the law, know that it is not safe to "go outside of the city." In addition to the physical risks and emotional anxiety, fireworks represent an enormous fire hazard to parks, forests, and the wildlife living there.
“PF&R’s goal is to make the 4th of July safe and enjoyable for all,” Janssens said. “Please help keep your neighborhood safe and pleasant by not bringing illegal fireworks to Oregon, and educating the Oregonians you know about the law (and the dangers) before they buy illegal fireworks.”