ACLU of Florida's Field Coordinator Nikki Fisher is attending the 50th Anniversary March on Washington. She will be blogging her experiences for ACLUFL.org
The original March on Washington took place over two decades before I was born. When I was a kid in school first hearing about it, it seemed as far away from me as did stories about the Civil War or the founding fathers or anything else I read about in a history books. But as I grew older and learned more about the march, more about what the people involved were fighting for, and more about the world, it became less of a mythic part of some distant history and more relevant to me.
The ACLU’s president Laura Murphy wrote movingly about her experience seeing the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom through a child’s eyes – how a moment that was a real experience for her and her family has grown into a part of our nation’s history. My experience has been the opposite. Growing up after the March on Washington, every passing year seemed to make it more real and more current to me than the other way around.
As I sit in the airport, reflecting on my excitement for tomorrow's march, my anticipation is tinged with a little apprehension. I sometimes wonder if Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of his America will ever fully be realized, and if it will ever reach to Florida. This past year, Floridians witnessed the terrible, tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Our hearts wept as an innocent 17-year-old was taken too early. Just last month, another young man died after an encounter with Miami Beach police. Israel Hernandez’s only crime was using a spray paint can on an abandoned building. As we continue to fight injustice across the state, I hope we can come together to make Florida a part of the dream.
With recent breakthroughs like the introduction of reforms on mandatory minimums, I'm hopeful that these sensible laws make their way to the state level, but specifically Florida. Chip by chip, we are eroding senseless laws that attack the very premise of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. The more we keep fighting these policies, the closer we come to realizing that dream.
I'm so proud, honored, thankful and blessed to be representing one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the United States on the 50th anniversary on the March on Washington.
I feel like Florida and the Nation want to sit on the right side of history. Our nation’s lawmakers need to be reminded of a better America: the one that Dr. King dreamed of for all of us. I couldn't imagine a better reminder than the 50th Anniversary of that historic event.
Fifty years is a long time. But the memory of the march is still very powerful. Our nation’s history isn’t over, we’re still writing it. Some of the injustices that led to the original march in 1963 are still happening, but I’m proud to say that so is the will to stand up and fight them.