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We Have A Dream: A Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

October 08, 2013

“And because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, the civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, the voting rights law was signed….

And that’s the lesson of our past, that’s the promise of tomorrow, that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.”- President Barack Obama, 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington Speech


In appreciation of the strides that have been made up to this point, and acknowledgment of the work that is left to be done, the Civil Rights Law Project and the Penn Law pro bono community would like to acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington with our own dreams for the future of civil rights in America:

We have a dream that differences will not be viewed as divisions or deficiencies.

That one day our roots, manifold, regardless of origin or citizenship, will grow in the  nourishment of respect and loving ears, and never be used to deny our humanity.

 That people with special needs will be given the adequate tools they need to live rather than simply government subsistence to survive.

That one day all individuals- regardless of age, size, race, gender, or ability- will appreciate rather than criticize their bodies.

We have a dream that our children will not be confronted daily or constrained by societal expectations of their gender, sexuality, or skin color.

That marriage will no longer have to be defended;

And identity will no longer have to be restricted to the confines of socially constructed gender lines  

That hoodies and Skittles will never again have to be viewed as threatening or made into protest symbols, and children of all races can walk home safely and without fear.

That women everywhere will have access to necessary information and healthcare to make their own decisions about reproductive choice and feel empowered to know their bodies are their own

We have a dream that workers will have the ability to assert their rights and govern the conditions of their workplace.

That people will not be forced to live off of minimum wage in exchange for maximum effort

That people who are out of work be respected, assisted, and equipped–not guilt-tripped

We have a dream that all people will be able to value and partake of the Earth’s resources equally.

That everyone will live and work in safe and healthy communities free from pollution.

That climate change will one day be a part of the civil rights agenda

And we will no longer wait until the levees break or the subway is under water to pay attention to our planet

We have a dream that access to education will be comprehensively recognized so that all children may be provided with an equal opportunity to succeed regardless of their demographic characteristics.

That all children may receive intellectual, emotional, and developmental support without relying on private remedial programs

That “Special Education” will one day be a compliment and an expectation-not an insult

That we will recognize that understanding the rights and responsibilities granted by our Constitution is essential to being an active citizen and make a serious effort to present all students with meaningful opportunities to engage, learn about, and understand their Constitutional rights.

We have a dream that the criminal system will remember that equal justice is the agenda and that society will recognize the value of second chances. 

That Americans who committed a crime in their past and paid their debt to society will not be denied the opportunity to have a different and better future

That our social policies will recognize and address the diverse needs of women exiting the criminal justice system

That maybe one day our streets will be full of celebration, and our prisons full of dust

And that all individuals who are in need of help will always find an extended hand waiting…