LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington will bring thousands of people to D.C. August 24.

They’ll march for issues including voting access and the George Zimmerman verdict, but D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray hopes locals show up in support of another issue that hits close to home. He wants a strong display of support for D.C. rights, including budget autonomy, a vote in Congress and statehood.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously quoted British statesmen William Ewart Gladstone in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Gray said in his weekly address on All News 99.1.

King wrote “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

“Justice has been delayed and denied to the District of Columbia for decades,” Gray said. “The nation’s capital is home to more than 632,000 people but we have no voting representative in our own Congress. We pay more than $3.5 billion a year in federal taxes, just like others who do enjoy voting rights. And, we send our sons and daughters to fight America’s wars — wars authorized by a Congress in which we have no vote. We can’t even spend our own locally raised tax dollars or enact our own local laws without first getting permission from Congress.”

In addition to his role as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, King frequently advocated for democracy in the District, according to Gray.

“While much of Dr. King’s dream has come to fruition for our country, today, sadly, the District of Columbia still languishes without full voting rights, full representation or full democracy,” he said.

So Gray encourages those who support voting rights and budget autonomy for D.C. to gather at 9 a.m. on August 24, before the larger 50th anniversary march, at the World War I memorial on Independence Ave. to rally for D.C. statehood.

“Please join us in calling the nation’s attention to a part of Dr. King’s dream that, 50 years after the March on Washington, remains deferred,” Gray said.

WNEW’s Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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