A week from Wednesday marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.
Millions of people are expected to make their way to the National Mall next week to commemorate the milestone, and buses from Connecticut are loading up to hit the road.
“It’s an opportunity to be a part of history,” said Rev. Daryel McCrorey, Sr. from Hartford. He and his wife, Carrie, joined the vigil and rally today at Union Baptist Church in Hartford. The bus stopped there this morning to pick up more passengers.
“The dream that Dr. King talked about has not been realized,” said Rev. Alvin Herring from PICO National Network. Rev. Herring says, though we have a black commander-in-chief, freedom has not yet rung for every American. “The blessings for one, although fortunate and wonderful and should be celebrated, often does not mean blessings for all.”
PICO is a faith-based community organization that fights violence, mass incarceration and chronic poverty. Last week alone there were four shootings in only 48 hours in Hartford, and the capital city remains one of the poorest in the nation – issues Dr. King fought to change.
“They gotta start being more examples for their younger men, because what’s happening is heads of households have dropped off and a lot of times these young men are only emulating the atmospheres that they come from,” said Rev. McCrorey.
Data from the Urban Institute shows that in 1950, only 17 percent of black children lived in fatherless homes. By 2010, that number more than doubled. Now 50 percent of black children have absent fathers. And almost half of all black children are born out of wedlock.
Rev. McCrorey’s wife, Carrie, says repairing families could help re-inspire Dr. King’s dream in all of us. “More people in the community coming together, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, more families coming out to be as a unit.”
So while many people can quote lines from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” 50 years later these attendees are asking serious questions about whether we’ve failed to reach that dream.
Union Baptist Church (860-247-0648) still has some seats available on their bus leaving Friday evening. That bus will only be in Washington overnight. Other buses from PICO and the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence are also headed to the commemorative ceremonies.