The 50th anniversary of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom calls people to address poverty, racism and class inequality, said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity.
The committee, which is chaired by Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, issued its statement August 13, as the nation prepares to commemorate the event at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on the National Mall.
“We join our voices to those who call for and foster continued dialogue and non-violence among people of different races and cultures, and who work tirelessly for the transformative, constructive actions that are always the fruit of such authentic dialogue,” the bishops said. “We rejoice in the advances that have occurred over the past 50 years, and sadly acknowledge that much today remains to be accomplished. However, we must always view the task that remains from the perspective of the continued call to hope and in the light of faith.”
The bishops cited both Dr. King, who said “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” and Pope Francis, who in his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, declared that “Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters.”
The bishops urged solidarity to meet the goals of the 1963 march.
“We join the call for positive action that seeks to end poverty, increase jobs, eliminate racial and class inequality, ensure voting rights, and that provides fair and just opportunities for all,” they said.
In addition to Bishop Flores, signatories included Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of New Orleans, chairman, Subcommittee on African American Affairs; Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, California, chairman, Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs; Bishop Randolph Calvo of Reno, Nevada, chairman, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio Del Riego of San Bernardino, chairman, Subcommittee on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers.
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