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Child Watch ‘Ask What You Can Do For Your Country’

By Marian Wright Edelman NNPA Columnist | 11/29/2013, 6 a.m.

President Kennedy responded to the movement’s persistent and sacrificial actions with passion and major action of his own. He made an eloquent speech to the nation on June 11, 1963 and sent a landmark civil rights bill to Congress one week later. The nationally- televised speech he gave introducing the bill once again inspired many Americans to share his vision that America could and must be better. His tragic death created a political climate that, combined with President Lyndon Johnson’s masterful political leadership, resulted in enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – the latter pushed by civil rights demonstrations in Selma.

Fifty years later, and after the deaths of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, and countless other nonviolent warriors for justice, the fight against intolerance, violence, and hatred in America is far from over.

So I hope, as we remember a young President who asked us not to ask what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country, that we will renew our commitment to building with urgency and persistence a just America where every child is valued and enabled to achieve their God given potential regardless of the lottery of birth.