Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Lives On

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  Crowds gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to hear remarks from President Obama along with other, prominent figures such as Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey.  People from around the country commemorated today by ringing bells from churches, schools, and historical monuments at 3:00 p.m. eastern, during the hour when King delivered his famed speech.  King’s momentous speech played a key role in mustering political support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

During this 50th anniversary of King’s “I have a dream” speech, we cannot help but reflect on the status of equality in this country.  It is undeniable that we have made great strides toward realizing equality.  However, on a grassroots level, as civil rights attorneys practicing in employment law, we see first-hand that there is work yet to be done.  Even though it often manifests in more subtle and cunning ways, discrimination of all different sorts – race, gender, family responsibility, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation – persists at home, within the community, and in the workplace.  We continue to await the day when discrimination lawsuits no longer become necessary because we as a society have learned to practice the ideals set forth in King’s speech.  For now, however, we can at least be grateful that we have evolved to the extent that our legal system allows those aggrieved by discriminatory acts to assert their rights and seek recourse, albeit usually monetary recourse.