President Obama ties Civil Rights Movement to LGBT rights in March on Washington speech

President Obama - March On Washington Speech

Yesterday, President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and the historic 1963 March on Washington with a historic speech of his own on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. And although his words spoke to the crucial fight for racial equality that began more than five decades ago, Obama gained applause and turned a few heads yesterday when he tied the Civil Rights Movement to today’s ever- growing LGBT rights movement.

Obama spoke about the “courage” that it takes to stand against oppression against minorities and pointed to the need for solidarity and empathy in order to combat hatred and injustice in our nation.

“The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.

“And I believe that spirit is there, that truth force inside each of us. I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child. I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man. It’s there when the native-born recognizing that striving spirit of the new immigrant; when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who are discriminated against and understands it as their own,” Obama said.

Wise words from a wise man. Check out some other major public figures who have stood up to promote fair and equal treatment of the LGBT community below. –nicholas robinson

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