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From VOA LearningEnglish, this is In the News.
PresidentBarackObama this weekjoinedhundreds of thousands of Americansacross the country in marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for civilrights. The presidentnotedwhat he called “unfinishedbusiness” in the and justice in the UnitedStates. Hiscommentscome at a timewhenAmericans are talkingaboutcivilrights and racerelations.
Some are stillreacting to a Florida court’s decision in the murdertrial of GeorgeZimmermann. The juryfound the neighborhoodwatchvolunteer not guilty in the shootingdeath of TrayvonMartin, a 17-year-oldAfricanAmerican.
On August 28, 1963, 250,000 peoplemarched in Washington for jobs and civilrights. It was the of its kind. Manypeoplestoodoutside the LincolnMemorial to hearspeakerstalkaboutcivilrights for AfricanAmericans.
The marchendedwithcivilrightsleaderReverendMartinLutherKing, Jr. givinghisfamous “I Have a Dream” speech. Hiscommentsenergized the civilrightsmovement in the UnitedStates and led to importantlaws, including the CivilRightsAct of 1964. The lawbarsmajorforms of discriminationagainstminorities and women.
LastWednesday, the nation’s firstblackpresidentstood on the steps of the LincolnMemorial. Mr. ObamarememberedKing and the sacrifices of thosewhomarchedhere in Washington. He said the marchersbroughtchange not only for AfricanAmericans, but also for othergroups and for thosehoping for freedomaround the world.
The president’s speechmarkedone of the firsttimessince he tookoffice in 2009 that he has spokenaboutissues of race. It alsocametwomonthsafter the nation’s ruledagainstpart of the 1965 VotingRightsAct.
Mr. Obamasaidthosewhosuggestlittle has changed in Americadishonor the marchers of 50 yearsago. At the sametime, he saidworktowardracialequality is not complete. The presidentnoted that challenges to votingrights, high and otherproblemsneedattention.
“To secure the gains that this country has maderequiresconstantvigilance, not complacency, whether by challengingthosewhoerectnewbarriers to the vote, or ensuring that the scales of justiceworkequally for all, and the criminaljusticesystem is not simply a pipeline from under-fundedschools to overcrowdedjails. It requiresvigilance.”
The crowd on the NationalMallhere in Washingtonalsoheard from present-daycivilrightsleaders, moviestars and twoformer U.S. presidents. LikeMr. Obama, BillClinton and JimmyCarter the DemocraticParty. Mr. Carteralsocriticized the SupremeCourtdecision on the VotingRightsAct.
“I believe we allknowhowDr. Kingwouldhavereacted to the newIDrequirements to excludecertainvoters, especiallyAfricanAmericans. I think we allknowhowDr. Kingwouldhavereacted to the SupremeCourtstrikingdown a crucialpart of the VotersRightsActjustrecentlypassedoverwhelmingly by Congress.”
Anotherspeaker was MartinLutherKing’s youngestchild, BerniceKing. She spokeabouther father’s message to “LetFreedomRing.”
“Today, 50 yearslater, myfriends, we are stillcrippled by practices and policiessteeped in racialpride, , some of whichhave us standingourgroundratherthanfindingcommonground.”
Somepeople in the crowdalsotookpart in the 1963 march. Theysaidthey are prepared to keep the dream of racial .
And that’s In the News, from VOA LearningEnglish. I’m AviArditti.