New Mexicans reflect on progress 60 years after MLK’s march on Washington
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s been 60 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s march on Washington. But, for the dozens of New Mexicans marching Saturday morning, the fight for civil liberties is not over.
“I believe in justice for everybody, that’s why I’m here,” said Judy Deutsch.
94-year-old Judy Deutsch was in Washington D.C. for the original march in 1963, and so was 76-year-old Laurel Anderson.
“It was exciting because there were so many people suddenly diverging on all sides, and everybody seemed happy,” said Laurel Anderson.
Both women say that happiness was still there Saturday morning, but they felt something darker too.
“I thought how could all that injustice not change? I never dreamt that we’d be here 60 years…fighting,” said Deutsch.
Saturday’s marchers echoed calls for change heard back in 1963, including expanded voting rights and an end to racial discrimination. But marchers also called for more affordable housing, equal access to healthcare, and higher wages.
“We’ve done a lot. We still have more work to do. We still do not have that perfect union that I think we should always be striving to,” said state Sen. Harold Pope Jr..
Pope Jr. – who was the first African American elected to the state senate – spoke after the march about the hidden messages in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
“Embedded within his words was an urgent call to address economic disparities that often go overlooked,” said Pope Jr. Saturday.
While many marchers agree their fight is not over, they say there is progress to celebrate.
“I do see more Black people, people of color in Congress, and even in our state house, New Mexico. I see more people of color,” said Deutsch.
“I think people are speaking out more now. That’s a change. I think it was something really unique that people we’re going to speak out and go to this big march. Since that time, we have had all kinds of marches,” said Anderson.
Marchers say that’s not going to change.
“We’re always going to continue to fight for all of these issues because if we don’t it is jeopardy of being lost,” said Joe Noriega, march attendee.