US Commemorates 50th Anniversary of MLK Speech, March for Jobs and Freedom
Today the US will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, during which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The event comes after a week of celebrations, including a march on Saturday where speakers commemorated King, discussed the history of the civil rights movement, and spoke about the changes that still need to occur to fulfill King's dream of a more equal world.
A nation-wide bell-ringing ceremony and an address from President Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC will take place today at three PM EDT, the exact time when King gave his speech on August 28, 1963. Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will join President Obama during the ceremony.
Preceding President Obama's address, bells will ring in over 100 churches, schools, organizations, and historical monuments across the US. International celebrations are also taking place in England, Japan, Switzerland, Nepal, and Liberia. The bells are in reference to King's speech. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "When we allow freedom to ring--when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last, great God almighty, we are free at last.'"
Media Resources: USA Today 8/24/2013; BBC 8/28/2013; ABC 8/28/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .