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How do you celebrate the march on Washington? Fight Islamophobia

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The giant retrospective the country is having this week about the march on Washington 50 years ago is not about self-congratulation, it is about the meaning of history, and to me that meaning seems very clear. Fight Islamophobia.

Yesterday on NPR, Cokie Roberts reminded people that what we celebrate and join hands on today was extremely controversial inside the establishment 50 years ago, and proper young people like herself were torn:

I was at a student political meeting at the time of the march [presumably Wellesley College]. … But the – it was very, very controversial. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was there at the meeting, trying to get support for the march. And we students, you know, went way out on a limb saying: Well, we endorsed the goals but not the march itself.

You have to understand how frightened people were that this was going to be a violent mess. My father was the Democratic whip at the House at the time. He was very close with President Kennedy. They were concerned that it would just set back all of the movement toward civil rights if there was any violence at this march.

Now, of course just the opposite happened. As a result of the march and unfortunately the assassinations, three landmark civil acts bills were passed: the ’64 Public Accommodations Bill, the ’65 Voting Rights Bill, and the ’68 Open Housing Bill.

Roberts’s candor should be applauded. And it reminds us of the importance of taking stands on issues that divide people, the importance of being on the right side of history.

Today there are matters that are just as controversial, causes that seem right but are frightening because they seem to pose the risk of violence and disorder. Like, opposing the occupation of Palestine, NSA surveillance, and the demonization of Muslims.

Will the world rock off its hinges if you join these causes? Or, as Roberts said: will just the opposite happen?

Here’s a great way to celebrate the march on Washington:

Tomorrow at 5 pm, the  group representing the Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia will meet at 5 p.m. sharp on the SE corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Martine Ave. in central White Plains, next to the Westchester County Courthouse Plaza.

50th ANNIVERSARY MARCH ON WASHINGTON August 28, 2013, 5:00 p.m. Westchester County Courthouse Plaza 111 Martin Luther King Boulevard, White Plains

Come hear speakers and reflections from the civil rights movement, yesterday and today. Refreshments and conversation continue at the Thomas H. Slater Center, following the rally Organized by the Thomas H. Slater Center in collaboration with the AntiRacist Alliance, Blacks In Law Enforcement, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Westchester County Alumnae Chapter, NAACP of White Plains-Greenburgh, Urban League of Westchester, WESPAC, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence.

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4 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    August 27, 2013, 3:47 pm

    RE: “My father was the Democratic whip at the House at the time. He was very close with President Kennedy.” ~ Cokie Roberts

    MY COMMENT: Her father was Hale Boggs (D-LA).
    I might add that Cokie Roberts’ brother is “super lobbyist” Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr. of the law/lobbying firm Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C.

  2. just
    August 27, 2013, 4:25 pm

    How I wish I could be there, Phil. I am struck, more now than ever, with the grotesque hypocrisy that our government and citizens (of all other religions and cultures) exhibit– especially with regard to rampant Islamophobia.

    If Mr. Obama wants to give a speech tomorrow to celebrate Dr. King and all of the others who marched with him, he should include the theme of Islamophobia and Palestine. He should also NOT bomb Syria. He should give Israel a good measure of “what for” and a not so gentle shove.

    • just
      August 28, 2013, 9:11 am


      Finally Mr. Carter will be “allowed” to share the stage with Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton.

      “Other noteable speakers who have been announced include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Also expected to speak are Rep. John Lewis, the last surviving member of the original “Big Six” civil rights leaders who staged the 1963 march; Ambassador Andrew Young and the Rev. Al Sharpton.”

      Please, somebody speak on behalf of those that are the true victims of our hypocrisy.
      Dr. King would.

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