The civil rights movement was one of the most significant events in our country’s history. From the March on Washington in 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech, to the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, the movement united people of all backgrounds for a common goal and paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The brave men and women of the civil rights movement showed that people of all races and religions can come together to stand against injustice and oppression and served as a source of inspiration for oppressed people worldwide.
While the civil rights movement changed our country for the better, the fight against injustice and oppression continues. As singer-songwriter John Legend recently pointed out in his acceptance speech for best original song from the film “Selma” at the Oscars, “’Selma’ is now, because the struggle for justice is right now….We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”
Today, a new generation of activists is faced with high incarceration and unemployment rates in the African American community, along with a growing divide between the rich and poor, a shrinking middle class, stagnant wages, high student debt, job and housing discrimination, and underserved communities that are struggling with increasing inequality, racial profiling and social unrest. From OUR Walmart and the Fight for $15 to DC Ferguson to the fight for LGBT equality, activists have taken the lead in tackling these issues and pushed income inequality, social justice and gender equality into the national conversation.
Civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph, who organized the March on Washington, once said that “justice is never given; it is exacted and the struggle must be continuous for freedom is never a final fact, but a continuing evolving process to higher and higher levels of human, social, economic, political and religious relationship.”
The UFCW is proud to stand with today’s activists as they continue the fight for social and economic justice.