O'Malley speaks at 50th anniversary of March on Washington
By By John Fritze
The Baltimore Sun|
Aug 28, 2013 | 1:05 PM
WASHINGTON -- Gov. Martin O'Malley used a brief speech as part of Wednesday's 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to tie the civil rights movement to a wide range of domestic policy issues, from gun control and immigration to education, gay marriage and the economy.
The Maryland Democrat, who has said he is considering a run for president in 2016, encouraged the thousands assembled on the National Mall to view the event as a call to action for college affordability, an increase in the minimum wage and the protection of an individual's right to vote.
It was among the highest-profile addresses O'Malley has given since he spoke at last year's Democratic National Convention. President Barack Obama will also speak at the event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech.
"The work of justice is urgent, it is real and it is needed. Let there be no comfort in our country for the bigotry of cold indifference, for there are still too many lives in America taken from us by violence, still too many children in America who go to bed hungry, who go to school hungry, still too much apathy when the lives of people of color are too often valued less than the lives of white people," O'Malley said.
"Yes, thanks to Dr. King, America's best days are still ahead of us. Love remains the strongest power in our country. Forward, we shall walk hand in hand and in this great work we are not afraid."
Turnout for Wednesday's event appeared to be smaller than for a similar celebration that took place Saturday. The 8th grade class at KIPP Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore were among those who marched along the Mall in light rain.
"We came here to walk in the steps of our ancestors," said 13-year-old Shawn Carroll. "We came here today to show that we as people should have the same rights as other people."
Here is the full text of O'Malley's address:
"The work of justice is urgent, it is real and it is needed. Let there be no comfort in our country for the bigotry of cold indifference, for there are still too many lives in America taken from us by violence, still too many children in America, who go to bed hungry, who go to school hungry, still too much apathy when the lives of people of color are too often valued less than the lives of white people.
"And so the responsibility we consecrate today is not rooted in nostalgia or memory, it is rooted in something far deeper. It is rooted in the calling of conscience to action, actions to protect every individual's right to vote, action that safeguards and keeps guns out of the hands of violent offenders, action that makes quality education and the opportunity of college a reality for more families, action that protects the dignity of every child's home with civil marriage equality, action that strengthens our country with the hopes and dreams and hard work of our newest generation of new American immigrants, action that abolishes the death penalty and improves public safety in every neighborhood regardless of income or color, action that creates jobs and raises the minium wage for every mom and dad that's willing to work hard and play by the rules.