Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

50 Years Ago Today

50 years ago today, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered in Washington and changed our country’s history forever. On that day, they gathered to call for what was rightfully theirs: equal opportunity to jobs, housing, full participation in civic life. They gathered to demand the dignity and equality promised by our Constitution, as Dr. King said, “to make real the promise of democracy.”

They knew they would have to fight for it. Victory was not assured. But they stood together and thrust their movement one giant step forward. We are a more perfect union because of them.

We all owe an immense debt to those who marched that day, regardless of our race, color, or creed. Their fight advanced the cause of every American, including those new Americans who arrive on our shores every day. But, while we have made tremendous strides in the last 50 years, we still have a long way to go. And those of us who have benefited from the fights of the past have a responsibility to continue the fight for equality, equity, and inclusion.

Just this year, we saw the Supreme Court deem a key section of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, compromising for too many Americans the ability to engage in the most direct form of civic engagement and the most essential practice in our democracy. And we have seen racism rear its ugly head in headlines that garnered national attention. And, we have seen racism rear its ugly head in headlines that garnered national attention.

But we can’t ignore what’s happening in our own communities, in our own city. There are still too many of our friends and neighbors out of work. Still too many in need of healthcare. Still too many without a decent place to live.

Dr. King said that day, “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” That day is not yet here. We must continue to shake those foundations. We as a society must commit to dealing with poverty, to dealing with the disparity in educational opportunities, to dealing with the lack of resources in our neediest communities.

That’s why I’m committed to being a Mayor for all Los Angeles, to making City Hall work better for every one of our residents, to making sure every neighborhood receives its fair share of services. And make sure every Angeleno can find a job that creates better opportunities for themselves and their children.

These are the issues that must be addressed to get to that bright day of justice. As your Mayor, I will stand side by side with you as we continue the march towards Dr. King's dream. I hope, through collective effort and action, that 50 years from today, our country and our city will be that much closer to being a more perfect union.