President Obama will honor our nation's continued march to greater opportunity for all Americans with a speech today at 2:45 p.m. ET, standing at the spot on the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech on this date 50 years ago.
"I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream."
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28th, 1963
Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
To honor the occasion, President Obama is joining President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, members of the King family, and civil rights leaders for the "Let Freedom Ring" Commemoration to honor Dr. King's legacy and reflect on his iconic address.
Watch a live stream of the speech, and chat with other viewers when President Obama speaks at 2:45 p.m. ET.
“On Women's Equality Day, we celebrate the progress that has been made, and renew our commitment to securing equal rights, freedoms, and opportunities everywhere.” —President Obama 8/23/13
Today, Women’s Equality Day marks the 93rd anniversary of women’s suffrage. Nearly a century after women finally won the right to vote after decades of organizing, we can take stock of the many advances that we have made. But as President Obama said, we must also renew our commitment to securing equal rights for all, and recognize there is still more work to do.
Even with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act now in place, women are still making an average of 77 cents to every dollar earned by men, despite the reality that women are now the primary breadwinners in over 60 percent of American households. Efforts to roll back women’s rights and their ability to control their own health decisions are sweeping the country. In the first half of 2013 alone, more than 24 anti-choice bills became law in 15 different states. Even as we celebrate the right to vote, many states are embarking on efforts to curb those rights.
That’s why OFA is launching our Stand with Women campaign—because as far as we’ve come, we still have work to do before women achieve full equality. Next month, we'll be kicking off an initiative to promote the policy solutions to the challenges women are facing today.
Together we'll fight for better access to affordable health care for women and their right to make their own personal health decisions, and for legislation that builds economic security for women and their families. We’ll foster a conversation about what it will take for women to overcome the hurdles keeping them out of leadership positions.
Keep the momentum moving forward. On Women’s Equality Day, pledge to stand with women—and help build a better bargain for women and our families, now and in the future.
As we celebrate Women's Equality Day and the progress our country has made for women's issues, We Belong Together is reminding people that immigration reform is a women's issue as well.
In the past 93 years, we've made great strides in women's equality. And today, we're closer than we've ever been to passing comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship for all of the women living in America. Click the image above to see how immigration reform would bring all women a step closer to equality.
OFA has been putting the pressure on members of Congress all month long—and we're seeing legislators shape their policy positions as a result. We're winning August, and help from people like you is making the difference.
It appears the NRA has noticed. The gun lobby went into rapid-response mode this week to counter-mobilize against our efforts. The special interests out there are nervous, and they're well funded. Make no mistake that they're going to try to derail our progress by doing whatever they can to leverage their influence in Washington.
Luckily, we're one of the organizations with the tools and resources to fight back. Expanding background checks for gun sales has been supported by nine out of 10 Americans—you don't see that kind of consensus often. And the NRA knows they're on the wrong side of the American people—in fact, a vast majority of its own members said they support expanding background checks. It doesn't matter though. The gun lobby's job is to stop any legislation on guns, even if—and especially if—it's wildly popular.
This movement was built to stand up to the strong-arming special interests, and every action OFA supporters take—every rally, every day of action, every tweet—is about ordinary Americans making their voices heard. We can go toe-to-toe with the gun lobby and keep fighting to get Congress to pass common-sense gun violence prevention legislation—but only with your help. Chip in $5 or more to support OFA today.
During the August congressional recess, lawmakers are in their home districts to speak to constituents face-to-face. Many are holding town halls, where people can make their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. And there's one law in particular representatives are hearing a lot about, especially if they've voted to repeal it on 40 separate occasions: Obamacare.
At several town halls all over the country, constituents who have seen for themselves that the law is working have been fact-checking their elected representatives' claims and calling them out over their votes to take Obamacare away.
North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry and Florida Congressman Daniel Webster both got called out in front of dozens of people at town halls in their districts. Representatives McHenry and Webster both voted to repeal Obamacare, and they have vocal constituents who don't agree with their stance on the law.
In Nevada, a small businessman took a stand against Congressman Joe Heck's efforts to repeal Obamacare. Ron Nelsen asked his representative why he is trying to take away the positive contributions Obamacare will make to his family's and his employees' health care.
Finally, in Pennsylvania, Representative Dent was confronted by constituents who challenged his misleading claims about rising health care costs.
This is a big deal. One by one, lawmakers are seeing that their votes for repeal aren't just about political posturing—they're about taking benefits away from the people in their communities who are benefitting from the law.
Now is the time to make your voice heard, and show your representatives where you stand. Momentum is building as more and more Americans stand up for Obamacare, and call out representatives who are trying to take affordable health care away from millions. Add your voice today.
In Binghamton, New York, we're pushing for Congress to stand with our country's future and support immigration reform. We also have some pretty talented artists.
We decided to create a banner that symbolized our country's need for immigration reform. Oswil Liz served as the main artist on this project—he's working on the landscape in the photo above.
Here are OFA volunteers Carol and Katheline coloring in the stripes, joined by Diana from Citizen Action.
And here's the banner in action. Katheline, above, shared her story as the daughter of immigrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic at an OFA rally for immigration reform. Below, Pastor Kimberly Chastain of United Presbyterian spoke at the rally as well.
Earlier this year, Congress had a chance to pass common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence. Nine out of 10 Americans supported expanded background checks, but still Congress failed to act. On Wednesday, OFA supporters united to ask their members of Congress what will it take to finally act to prevent gun violence?
Take a look at how volunteers and community leaders across the country rallied their communities to take action.
OFA Pennsylvania organized a statewide event called "Hands Across Pennsylvania" with participants in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and everywhere in between.
In Tucson, speakers included survivors of gun violence, including Retired Colonel Bill Badger, Jocelyn Strause from Moms Demand Action and Pam Simon, a one-time staffer for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Sami Rahamim lost his father Reuven Rahamim last September when a disgruntled former employee opened fire in his business. Sami spoke to supporters in Minneapolis, along with Chief John Harrington of the Minneapolis Police Department, Councilman Don Samuels and members of the organizations Mad Dads and Death to Life.
More than 40 volunteers turned out in Knoxville, Tennessee, to stand with the community and hold their members of Congress accountable.
See more photos, tweets and news stories from Wednesday's day of action in the slideshow below.
On gun violence prevention, OFA is not backing down. It's not too late to participate in Action August and make your voice heard on the issues that matter most to you.
From coast to coast, community leaders joined OFA supporters Wednesday to stand up and ask Congress to pass measures to prevent gun violence, including a measure requiring background checks on all commercial gun sales. Here's a look at how OFA made headlines nationwide:
* Pennsylvanians gathered outside Representative Jim Gerlach's office to ask him to support legislation that would expand background checks and close the gun-show loophole. “It’s important to let Congress see that these kinds of issues matter to grass-roots organizations,” said MaryAnn Piccioni of the Chester County East Chapter of Organizing for Action. [Daily Local News]
* Mary Kay Mace's daughter Ryanne was killed when a gunman opened fire in a campus lecture hall on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University in February 2008. “In the case of the NIU tragedy, I believe that had a gunman been unable to purchase his firearms through legal means, he may not have had the wherewithal to buy them illegally,” she said at the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. [Associated Press]
* "The message is not getting across that we care about these young people,” said Rick Staples, who oversees rehabilitation programs for inmates at the Knox County Detention Facility in Tennessee. “Right now, our future is under attack.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]
* Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman joined a local rally against gun violence to voice his support for common-sense gun laws, saying preventing gun violence is his number one priority. [Cedar Rapids Gazette]
* New Yorkers rallied on the steps of Staten Island Borough Hall to call on Congressman Michael Grimm to join other NYC representatives in supporting the Toomey-Manchin measure requiring federal background checks on commercial gun sales. [Staten Island Advance]
* County Attorney Patricia LaFrance joined Organizing for Action New Hampshire at Nashua City Hall to call on Congress to close loopholes in firearm background checks. "I cannot understand how anyone can justify allowing violent criminals such easy access to guns,” LaFrance said. “It’s common sense. To me, this isn’t about politics. It’s about common sense.” [Nashua Telegraph]
Help keep common-sense gun violence prevention measures moving forward in Congress.
Right now, outside groups are waging a losing battle against Obamacare, spending more than $385 million since the law passed to confuse, mislead, and misinform the public. Opponents in Congress are working to repeal or seriously delay parts of the bill.
Think about what that would actually mean:
* A return to lifetime limits and the threat of being dropped from your plan at a moment’s notice—usually when you need it most
* Going back to the days when you could be denied health insurance based on pre-existing conditions
* Women paying more for insurance just because they are women
* Children getting kicked off their parents’ health insurance plans when they graduate college—the time when many need that security the most
* More uncertainty and hardship for families without insurance
Some lawmakers have gone so far as threatening to shut down the entire government unless Obamacare is repealed. That’s thousands of jobs, funding for schools, services for veterans and more.
They don't want you to know the truth: Obamacare is working.
Obamacare fixes what doesn’t work in our health insurance system and it keeps what does work. That means the majority of Americans won’t see any change except for better benefits, like free annual checkups, vaccinations and mammograms.
And the 30 million Americans today who are going without insurance now? On October 1st, they'll have a shot at something affordable. They will finally have the chance to get a plan that fits their budget and accounts for illnesses, accidents and emergencies.
A poll last month showed an overwhelming number of Americans see affordable health coverage as key to getting into the middle class. That is what is at stake: a better shot at middle class security. And it needs to be protected.
We can’t let opponents get away with spreading misinformation and fear. Join the Truth Team and get the facts, so that you can help set the record straight on Obamacare.