Posted at 5:30 PM
“Fifty years ago today, nearly a quarter of a million Americans came to Washington from across the country to stand up for civil rights and equality. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s groundbreaking ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ and the March on Washington catalyzed the Civil Rights Movement and led to significant legislation to end discrimination on the basis of race. Perhaps more importantly, the Movement brought to light the significance of economic empowerment. Aptly named, the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs was an opportunity to call for the end of widespread discrimination in hiring, limited job mobility and high unemployment rates. As we reflect back on the progress made over the last five decades, there still remains a lot of work to ensure that everyone who works hard can succeed, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. The Commerce Department remains committed to helping every American and business get access to the resources and support they need to be competitive and innovative in the 21st century."
Since 1963, America has made great strides toward economic opportunity and equality. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, for African-Americans, income has risen, the poverty rate has fallen, home ownership has increased, and the amount of high school and college students and graduates has soared. For specific statistics, visithttp://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb13-ff22.html.
Further, minority-owned businesses now generate $1 trillion in annual revenues and employ nearly six million Americans. To learn more about the Minority Business Development Agency’s efforts to support minority-owned businesses grow and create jobs, visit http://www.mbda.gov/pressroom/press-releases/mbda-2012-annual-performance-report-shows-record-breaking-year-job-creation