(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray, in a rally today on Freedom Plaza, implored District residents to demand their freedom from congressional oppression in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movement he led for equal rights for African Americans.
“The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement knew, as Dr. King did, that, if African Americans continued to wait patiently for their rights to be given to them, it would never happen,” Mayor Gray told a rally of thousands of District residents. “How true that was then, and how true it still is today – when, well over 40 years later, the leaders of Congress keep telling the residents of the District of Columbia to ‘wait.’ Administrations and majority parties come and go, but everybody keeps telling us, ‘wait.’ Well, I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of waiting. I am sick and tired of paying taxes to a nation whose leaders treat me with disdain.”
Several other local and national leaders and activists spoke at the event, including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC Councilmembers, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, longtime civil-rights activist Dick Gregory and former DC delegate to Congress Rev. Walter Fauntroy.
Mayor Gray and the participants then marched from Freedom Plaza to the grounds of the Washington Monument, where they joined the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network’s Rally and March for Jobs and Justice. The Mayor also spoke at that event. “Those of you who are from elsewhere, go back home and let your family, friends and neighbors know of the injustice and nullification suffered by the people who live in your nation’s capital,” he said. “Tell them it is time to bring freedom to the people of the District of Columbia.”