August 19, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
LGBT participation set for 50th anniversary March on Washington
1963 March on Washington, civil rights, gay news, Washington Blade

1963 March on Washington (Photo by Rowland Scherman for the U.S. Information Agency courtesy of the Still Picture Records Section of the Special Media Archives Services Division)

LGBT people from throughout the country are expected to join civil rights movement leaders in a series of events this week that include a mass rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for civil rights.

The rally and several of the other events, among other things, will honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, and the lead organizer of that event, black civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin, who was gay.

Three national LGBT organizations – the National Black Justice Coalition, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are among a broad coalition of U.S. civil rights groups participating in the events.

“The LGBT community is a key part of this broad coalition of Americans that will participate in the march,” HRC said in a statement on Monday.

1963 March on Washington, civil rights, gay news, Washington Blade

1963 March on Washington (Photo public domain)

The HRC statement says the march on Saturday will call on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, an LGBT civil rights bill that has been stalled in Congress for decades. LGBT participants will also join mainline civil rights groups in calling on Congress to pass a restoration of the Voting Rights Act, comprehensive immigration reform legislation, and other key priorities of the civil and human rights movement.

Following is a list of some of the events over the coming week and beyond in which LGBT-related issues will be discussed, with at least three of the events focused on Rustin and his impact on civil rights in general and LGBT equality in particular.

The events related to Rustin come after President Obama earlier this month posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to the nation.

50th Anniversary March on Washington
LGBT-related events

Tuesday, Aug. 20
March on Washington Attendees Reflect On Their Experiences
Paul Kuntzler, D.C. gay activist, will be one of four panelists to reflect on his participation in the 1963 March on Washington.
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Library, Lower Level Auditorium
901 G St., N.W.

Thursday, Aug. 22
Celebrating the Legacy of A. Philip Randolph & Bayard Rustin 44th Annual A. Philip Randolph Institute National Conference
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel
400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.

Friday, Aug. 23
Celebrating the Legacy of A. Philip Randolph & Bayard Rustin 44th Annual A. Philip Randolph Institute National Conference
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Hotel
400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.

What is the Unfinished Business for the LGBT Community?
A Conversation and Reception on the Heels of the Anniversary of the March on Washington
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Rayburn House Office Building
Foyer

Welcoming Reception for LGBT Participants 50th Anniversary March on Washington
6–10 p.m.
Us Helping Us HIV/AIDS services organization
3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Saturday, Aug. 24
LGBT March Contingent
Assembles at D.C. Statehood Rally
D.C. War Memorial (North side of Independence Ave. between World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial)
Mayor Vincent Gray to Speak
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

50th Anniversary March on Washington Rally
Speakers and Entertainers to be announced later in week
10 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Lincoln Memorial

Monday, Aug. 26
A Tribute to Bayard Rustin & the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington
Sponsored by National Black Justice Coalition, American Federation of Teachers, A. Philip Randolph Institute
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Lincoln Theater
1215 U St., N.W.

Wednesday, Aug. 28
The Life and Legacy of Bayard Rustin: How an African American gay man became the lead organizers of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington
Panel Discussion and Reception, hosted by the Center for Black Equity
Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign
7:00 p.m.
HRC Equality Forum Hall
1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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