THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
The President of the United States Statement on the 30th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
August 28, 1993
On this day, thirty years ago, almost a quarter million Americans gathered in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial to ask our nation to uphold its founding ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity for all.
As he looked at the crowd, Martin Luther King, Jr., must have been inspired by what he saw: people of every color, united in mutual respect and common purpose, representing America as it was meant to be -- and as it must be. In the words of A. Philip Randolph, whose vision of a multiracial movement for social justice inspired this historic demonstration, those who marched on August 28, 1963, were "the advance guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom."
Three decades later, we remember how far we have come on freedom's trail and we rededicate ourselves to completing the journey. As a son of the South, I have seen in my own lifetime how racism held all of us down and how the civil rights movement set all of us free. We must never forget the hard-earned lesson that America can only move forward when we move forward together.
That is why we rededicate ourselves to vigorous enforcement of the civil rights laws, to eradicating discrimination of every kind, and to opposing intolerance in all its forms.
And we firmly believe that, as such visionary leaders as Martin Luther King, A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin understood three decades ago, jobs and freedom are inextricably linked. Human dignity demands that each of us have the opportunity to use our God-given abilities, to support ourselves and our families, and to produce something of value for our fellow men and women.
In everything we do, we are guided by that vision of economic empowerment. That is why we have struggled to lift the working poor out of poverty. That is why we have struggled to expand the opportunities for education, training, and national service. That is why we have struggled to bring new jobs, new opportunities, and new hope to communities all across this country, from our smallest towns to our oldest cities. That is why we will spare no effort to provide every family in America with health care they can count on, health care that's always there. And, as we pursue the timeless goals of opportunity for all and responsibility for all, let us follow the example of those who marched thirty years ago, and work together, regardless of race or region or religion or party.
As we honor the past and build the future, let us listen again to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "now is the time to make real the promises of democracy...now is the time to make justice a reality for all God's children."
Together, we can make that dream a reality. Together, we can make the country we love everything it was meant to be.