By Marc Morial
President & CEO of the National Urban League
As I reflect upon the year, 2013 has indeed been a transformative one for civil rights and social justice issues in America.Â Fifty years forward from the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we celebrated our progress.Â Yet, we also witnessed the Supreme Courtâ€™s gutting of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and stripping away of workersâ€™ rights and anti-discrimination protections under the Civil Rights Act, the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, and ongoing high unemployment and other economic, social and legal disparities that continue to plague African Americans and low-income and working class Americans.
We met the sobering truth that though much has been achieved, much more needs to be done to realize the full promise and potential of our great nation.Â A shiny veneer of progress cannot justify cuts in critical programs, legislation, protections or investments that are vital to achieving equal opportunity in America.
As we move forward into 2014, numerous challenges lie before us.Â But I remain encouraged by the ever-present legacy of freedom fighters, such as the incomparable late Nelson Mandela, and by those who put a mirror before our society and lend their voices to the growing chorus against income inequality, such as Timeâ€™s Person of the Year Pope Francis.Â They and so many more before us have helped to clear the path to make our journey possible.
We are making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans in need.Â For that, I would like to thank each of you for your support of the National Urban League and the Urban League Movement in 2013, and I look forward to making an even greater impact in 2014 â€“ together.
In the meantime, wishing you and yours joy and peace.
Happy Holidaysâ€¦Merry Christmasâ€¦Feliz Navidadâ€¦.Happy Hanukkahâ€¦Happy Kwanzaaâ€¦Happy New Year!