So today, how close has the nation come to meeting the protesters demands? And where have has the U.S. fallen short? Let’s go through the ideas point by point:
1. Comprehensive and effective Civil Rights legislation from the present Congress — without compromise or filibuster — to guarantee all Americans: Access to all public accommodations, decent housing, adequate and integrated education, the right to vote.
The dissenting judges and other critics argue that getting rid of that provision will make the law less effective at preventing discrimination in voting.
2. Withholding of federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.
Reality: It’s illegal for federally-funded organizations to discriminate, but some critics argue it’s still happening at charities that get federal dollars.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits “discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.” Still, some say that President Obama has not gone far enough in preventing religious discrimination at faith-based groups that receive federal dollars.
3. Desegregation of all schools in 1963.
Reality: Laws and court rulings have aimed to integrate schools, but in many ways the system is still segregated. A variety of court rulings and lawsallowing for busing, magnet school programs and other tools have aimed to integrate America’s school systems. Despite the efforts, many school districts remain largely segregated, according to Mary Frances Berry, former chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “On schools, we sort of struck out altogether,” she told the Kansas City Star.
4. Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment — reducing Congressional representation of states where citizens are disenfranchised.
8. A national minimum wage act that will give Americans a decent standard of living. (Government surveys show that anything less than $2 an hour fails to do this).
Reality: The current value of the minimum wage is still far below the protesters’ demands. A $2 minimum wage in 1963 is the equivalent of a $13.39 minimum wage today, according to a recent paper from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. In his state of the union address earlier this year, President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage, though his suggestion to raise it from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour was far less than the March on Washington proposal.
9. A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.
Reality: The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures most workers are protected, but certain occupations are exempt. The Fair Labor Standards Act guarantees a minimum wage of $7.25 for workers or a $2.13 minimum wage for tipped workers, overtime pay for those who work more than 40 hours a week and prohibits child labor and other practices. Still, there are many categories of workers that are exempt, such as farm workers, seasonal employees and certain types of commissioned sales employees, according to the AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization for many of America’s labor unions.
10. A federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination by federal, state and municipal governments and by employers, contractors, employment agencies and trade unions.
Reality: There are many laws that prohibit discrimination in hiring, but it still persists on the ground. The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in hiring based on race, national origin and sex. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is charged with enforcing this provision, and it has also determined that many discrimination claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity can often be counted as a sex discrimination claim.
But despite local and national laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring and many companies’ commitment to diversity, research has shown that black applicants are often discriminated against in their job search.