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Bishops’ Labor Day Statement, Martin Luther King Jr. Fiftieth Anniversary Rally Highlight Economic Inequality

August 30, 2013

Bishops' Annual Labor Day Statement Highlights Income Inequality
Noted Dr. King: Can't Sit at Lunch Counter If You Can't Afford Burger
Bishops: Need Bold Steps To Achieve Just Economy

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops' 2013 Labor Day statement parallels concerns for the economic inequality voiced at the Let Freedom Ring rally on the National Mall August 28. The rally marked the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Civil Rights march half a century ago stressed not only the need for Civil Rights but also the need for jobs and living wages. Addressing the anniversary crowd, President Obama recalled the sit-ins at segregated lunch counters and cited Dr. King's observation in 1965:

"What good does it do to be able to eat at a lunch counter if you can't buy a hamburger?"

The bishops' annual Labor Day statement cites rampant income inequality in the midst of uneven economic recovery, urges bold action to create just economy with jobs that provide living wage and calls for increased minimum wage, immigration reform, and an end to wage theft.

The Labor Day Statement was issued by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In the statement, dated September 2, Bishop Blaire said that most people want to live in a more equal society that provides opportunities for everyone.

"The current imbalances do not have to be inevitable," Bishop Blaire wrote. "We must be bold in promoting a just economy that reduces inequality by creating jobs that pay a living wage and share with workers some profits of the company, as well as ensuring a strong safety net for jobless workers and their families and those who are incapable of work."

The 2013 Labor Day statement is available online in English and Spanish at:


Keywords: Bishop Stephen Blaire, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama, Labor Day, March on Washington, I Have a Dream, living wage, Civil Rights, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Committee on Domestic Social Development

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Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
O: 202-541-3200
M: 301-325-7935

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