America has come a long way in the fifty years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial at the original March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. President Obama acknowledged this in the speech he gave at the event honoring the March this Wednesday, August 28th, at the same time of day, from the same location as the famous one given by Dr. King.
“Because they marched, America become more free and more fair,” said Obama, “Not just for African-Americans but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans, for Catholics, Jews and Muslims, for gays, for Americans with disabilities.”
Before the president spoke, advocates from around the country took to the podium to talk about issues facing the civil rights movement today. Among them was Fred Maahs, chair of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Maahs called for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a treaty that would improve awareness, access and community for people with disabilities around the globe. Though the treaty was signed in 2009, it is currently pending approval from the Senate.
“For many millions of people with disabilities, the American dream remains out of reach,” Maahs said in a statement released before the event. “We have seen a lot of progress, but like all civil rights movements, the disability rights movement has much more to do.”
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