March on Washington: Where we've been, what's still ahead - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

March on Washington: Where we've been, what's still ahead

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PROVIDENCE -

Forty-four years before the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's dream, there was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"We take on everyone. Anyone who feels that they want to have a stake in equality and fighting bias and discrimination has a home with the NAACP," said Jim Vincent, president of the Providence Chapter of the NAACP.

During the civil rights movement, the group helped pass the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But in recent years some have questioned whether the NAACP is still relevant.

"Over the last 50 years, any kind of bias and discrimination that's happening. We've been the voice for the voiceless. We're not trying to get anything back but we want to let people know we still have a lot of work to go," Vincent said.

Vincent said his organization is committed to reaching out to young people who don't remember the Jim Crowe era, and other groups of color.

Clifford Monteiro, a community activist and former Providence NAACP president, was there 50 years ago for the March on Washington.

"I want younger people to know what freedom we enjoy today was earned by black and white people," he said.

Monteiro said people of all races need to keep fighting for adequate schooling for all, jobs, and better living conditions.

"I think now people are involved in the civil rights movement if they get a pay check and I think that has destroyed our movement. All people, black and white, have a responsibility to eliminate racism and poverty in this country," he said.

Although some people of color have arrived, both men say the majority of the black community and others of color still deal with disparities in wealth and education.

So there's still a lot left to fight for.

"The country's come far as far as segregation in terms of the laws, but we still have record high unemployment in the black community. We still have an education system that's still broken for most of us. There's still problems. We've come a long way but we still have a long way to go," Vincent said.

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