Speaker Commits Congress to Making King's Dream a Reality
WASHINGTON, July 23, 2003
Speaker Dennis Hastert made the following statement today:
"Good afternoon, I want to thank Rep. John Lewis for having me. I also want to pay tribute to the other five Americans, who helped to issue the national call for the March on Washington, but have since passed on. May God bless them and their families for putting our country on the right path.
"'Fellow Americans, we are gathered here in the largest demonstration in the history of this nation. We are the advance guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom.' With those very words, A. Philip Randolph, the late civil rights leader opened the March on Washington and initiated a journey we're still on today.
"It is my privilege and honor to stand here today and work toward the very same principles that he and many other leaders fought for 40 years ago on August 28th, 1963. More than 200,000 blacks and whites, musicians and politicians, workers and those looking for work came to the Washington Mall that day. Their path started that morning, at the Washington Monument, took them along Independence and Constitution Avenues, and culminated at the Lincoln Memorial. This diverse group marched peacefully side-by-side for jobs, freedom and equality. Most importantly, their journey did not end at the Lincoln Memorial -- that's the site where their mission actually began.
"Rep. Lewis, as you so eloquently stated on that day, 'By the force of this demand, our determination and our numbers... we have and will continue to splinter segregation into a thousand pieces, and put them back together in the image of God and Democracy.'
"We will continue to work toward the mission laid out on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial by working in Congress to ensure that Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech embodies more than an American Dream, but an American reality and way of life.
"My friends, the journey continues with the same passion, focus, and vision as was started 40 years ago. Thank you."