“When we fight, we win,” said United States Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) during her speech at Federal Plaza on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The refrain led to chants and drums as people held up signs.
To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, several organizations partnered to host the “Let’s Fulfill the Dream Together” rally. Speakers at the “Let’s Fulfill the Dream Together” rally highlighted the progress in the last 56 years but also acknowledged more work needs to be done.
Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL-1) reflected on the March on Washington.
“As I look backwards to 1963, I hear the naysayers. Those who didn’t believe and those who were in denial that the March on Washington could ever happen. But it did happen,” he said. “Fifty-six years ago they came together with courage. They put everything on the line to end the scourge of racism in this nation.”
Rush said the people who attended the March on Washington had so much pride and so much resolve.
“Today, in this present moment, I wonder what happened that racism is still so apparent in this nation,” he said.
Rush said he could only think of one thing, the difference between a dream and a vision.
“Dreams come and go but visions stay with you. A vision has the power to take ahold of you,” he said. “We remember Dr. King’s dream but we can’t forget Dr. King’s vision for America.”
llinois State Representative Celina Villanueva (D-Dist. 21) introduced herself as “the very proud daughter of Mexican immigrants.”
“Injustice done to one of us and a threat to one of us is a threat to all of us,” she said.
Villanueva added, “None of us are free until we are all free. We’ve lived through dark times and we are resilient. We will continue to fight.”
Dilnaz Waraich, of the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, also carried the theme of strength in unity.
“The politics of this country will not take us back. We need to stand together because together we are stronger,” she said.
Waraich continued to talk about the strength of people. “Yes, there’s calamity, yes, there’s hardship; but we are stronger,” she said. “We’re breaking down our silos and we realize we are stronger.”
Waraich also credited the struggle and fight of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement with the freedom experienced by other minorities. Something Dilara Sayeed, co-founder of the Illinois Muslim Civic Alliance, echoed.
“Every single one of us who feels free in the United States of American owes a debt of gratitude to African Americans. On the 56thanniversary, I share that dream and I need to show up,” she said.
Phumzile Mozibuko, the Consul General of South Africa in Chicago, said there are similarities between the March on Washington and Apartheid. “It shows the umbilical cord that binds and reminds us that we can never stop being vigilant,” she said.
Rush said the hardest part is to do justice. “It means getting out of your comfort zone. We have to be committed to doing justice, to fight injustice no matter where it exists,” he said. “Rise up against racism, fight injustice and walk humbly with our God.”