MFSA plans events for March on Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) announces opportunities for commemoration, celebration and education during events surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs, Justice & Freedom.”

There will be two commemoration marches this month.

The Aug. 28, 1963, historic March on Washington, organized by labor, civil rights, and religious organizations, was the largest rally for human rights in the history of the United States. The march commanded national attention and is credited with changing the tide of public opinion, leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Music and speeches filled the air, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial inspired the marchers.

2 marches

There will be two commemoration marches this month.

  • The first will be Saturday, Aug. 24, on the National Mall. Information about this gathering can be found at Aug. 24 march.
  • The second will take place Wednesday, Aug. 28, with a focus on jobs and justice. Information about Wednesday’s march can be found at Aug. 28 march.

The office of Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) at 212 E. Capitol St. NE will be open both days from 7 a.m.–4 p.m. to provide hospitality to those participating in the marches. Water, restrooms and a bag drop will be available.

MFSA events

Tuesday, Aug. 27, MFSA is sponsoring two events focused on education and action.

  • At Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, a Teach-In will be held at 4 p.m. on the topic “A Culture of Suspicion: The Criminalization of Race in America.” The final panel is still in formation, but will include the Rev. Gil Caldwell and Charles Thornton.

    A retired United Methodist clergyman, Caldwell was a member of the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a founding member of Black Methodists for Church Renewal.

    Thornton serves as the director of the Mayor’s Office for Returning Citizens Affairs for the District of Columbia.

  • A worship service at historic Asbury United Methodist Church will be at 7 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, associate dean of Community Life & clinical assistant professor at Boston University School of Theology, will be the guest preacher. InProcess, an African-American women’s a cappella quintet will provide music.

    Dr. Lightsey is ordained in The United Methodist Church, and serves as co-chair of the Womanist Approaches to Religion & Society Group of the American Academy of Religion. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Reconciling Ministries Network.

Social justice activism

"Having grown up in the South during the 1960s, I remember the great appreciation my parents had for Dr. King, and their great sadness at his assassination,” said Lightsey. “These many years later, I am happy to be able to participate in these events to commemorate the March on Washington and believe our time together will encourage and inspire the continued work of social justice activism."

Chett Pritchett, MFSA’s interim executive director, called the commemoration an exciting opportunity for people of faith, especially United Methodists, to come together, learn and take action.

“The issues surrounding the March of 50 years ago are still prevalent today: racism, white privilege, access to good jobs and fair wages, and voting rights,” he said “We still have work to do to bring about God’s vision of a reconciled world.”

Editor's note: Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) has worked to mobilize a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA addresses issues of peace, poverty, people’s rights, progressive issues, and justice working primarily through the ministries of The United Methodist Church.

Letter to the Editor