On the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, I was invited by the King family, Martin Luther King III, and Andrea, his wife, and Yolanda, their daughter, to speak at the commemoration of the March on Washington.
For a nerdy little kid who loved political speeches and was just so moved by the March on Washington, this was like being invited to kick a field goal at the Super Bowl – and in more ways than one. In one way, I was nervous that I was going to miss it in front of millions of people. But in another, I was just so honored.
And it was just very clear that the reason they invited me is because of all of you.
They know that the million plus members of People for the American Way have been actively fighting for voting rights and they wanted to invite us to be part of that celebration. So it was a real honor to stand on those steps and to talk about not just Dr. King and not just the people who have spoken on those steps, but to call out A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, the organizers, the people who put together that event 60 years ago.
These people were not household names, but really should be. And I talk about them because I’ve come to learn that all good things in this movement and all good things in our country happen not because of powerful speakers with big voices, but people who work behind the scenes to get the job done.
What I’d like to ask you to do is to consider becoming one of those people. And you can do it by joining us at People for the American Way, becoming a member, following us on social media, and by signing up to be a citizen leader in this fight. That’s what this moment calls for.
And lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve already done. And I hope you can join us and spread the message that a strong democracy is how we protect the promise of America.
Svante Myrick is the president of People For the American Way.