Washington, DC – August 26, 2013 – To commemorate the 50 anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, the AFL-CIO and Union Privilege are awarding 60 scholarships totaling $300,000 to well deserving high school graduates from across the country. These 60 graduating seniors will each receive a one-time $5,000 scholarship for the academic year beginning in the fall 2013 through summer 2014.
The scholarship was initiated by AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker with the goal of creating a lasting legacy connected to the original goals of the 1963 march. While history remembers the “I Have a Dream” speech as a highlight, the march also called for action on the following goals:
· equal access to public accommodations
· voting rights
· the end of racial discrimination in employment
· decent housing
- adequate and integrated education
- jobs for all
- a minimum wage worth more than $13 an hour today.
As part of the application students were asked to describe their dream for their generation. Students were chosen both from union households and from community groups. Over 600 students applied and 60 awards were given out surpassing the original goal of 50. “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom” scholarship recipients will be acknowledged at the upcoming AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles this September. The scholarships were entirely funded by AFL-CIO union affiliates.
“Fifty years ago people came from across the country to march for a better life for future generations,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker. “Today we honor that legacy with the Dreams of Jobs and Freedom Scholarship with the goal of providing quality education and access to opportunity for all young people who want to fulfill their dreams.”
“The dream of a college education has become out of reach for too many young people,” said
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “I’m proud AFL-CIO unions gave from their hearts in order to make that dream a reality for a great group of kids from a diversity of backgrounds.”