WASHINGTON — The JACL on Saturday joined marchers for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the continued fight for justice, jobs, peace and freedom.
Todd Endo was a 21-year-old college student when he carried the JACL banner and led 35 JACLers in the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. With three generations of his family, Endo marched again 50 years later.
Speakers at the program held on the National Mall included Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., Rep. John Lewis of Georgia (who was the youngest speaker in 1963), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Martin Luther King III.
Mee Moua, president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, addressed the crowd of over 200,000 and recognized JACL’s participation and Endo’s presence.
The 2013 JACL contingent of 37 people joined the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) to form a bloc of well over a hundred.
JACL marchers included Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida, Vice President of Membership Toshi Abe, Eastern District Council Governor Michelle Amano, Amy Watanabe, Kelly Honda, Paula Endo, Erik Endo, Aidan Endo, Nancy Hall, Jen Hanold, Austin Hanold, Janice Faden, Michael Faden, Paul Igasaki, Louann Igasaki, Paul Uyehara, Mary Yee, Brigham Walker, Mackenzie Walker, Rosie Abriam, Patrick Lee, Jim McCallum, Noriko Sanefuji, Marsha Johnson, Greg Johnson, and Lauren Yamagata.
Ouchida said, “The March on Washington was a reminder of the critical role JACL played in advancing social justice. As a child, I watched the march on television. Today, I followed a new generation of young JACLers who carried the banner for what still needs to be done.”
Endo concluded the day with these thoughts: “Fifty years later there’s still that dream that’s not realized. You never get there. But that sense of unity and working together and peacefulness has carried on and remains influential.”