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WATCH: Calls for social justice on 50th March on Washington anniversary

"We stand on the shoulders of untold millions," Attorney General Eric Holder said Saturday before thousands on Washington D.C.'s national mall. "But for them, I would not be Attorney General of the United States and Barack Obama would not President of the United States of America.”
/ Source: MSNBC TV

"We stand on the shoulders of untold millions," Attorney General Eric Holder said Saturday before thousands on Washington D.C.'s national mall. "But for them, I would not be Attorney General of the United States and Barack Obama would not President of the United States of America.”

Lawmakers, activists, and civil rights leaders fired up a crowd of thousands on Washington, D.C.’s national mall Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark March on Washington.

While speakers called for increasing the minimum wage, combating a national rollback in voting rights protections for minorities, and equal rights for people of all races and sexual orientation, the progress made in the last half century was not lost.

“This morning as we recommit ourselves to [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s] quest  for progress, we also stand on the shoulders of untold millions whose names may be lost to history, but whose stories and whose contributions must be remembered and must be treasured,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Saturday.

“But for them, I would not be Attorney General of the United States and Barack Obama would not President of the United States of America.”

Former NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams spoke about her regret over being unable to attend then 1963 march. Her husband, Medgar Evers, was assassinated weeks before the march.

She invoked the “Stand Your Ground” law that came into focus after the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, which has become a hot-button issue, especially within the African-American community.

“I’m asking today to flip that coin and make ‘Stand your Ground’ a positive thing for all of us who believe in freedom and justice and equality. That we stand firm on the ground that we have already, and be sure that nothing is taken away from us because there are efforts to turn back the clock of freedom. And I ask you today, will you allow that to happen?”

“Take the words ‘Stand your Ground’ in a positive sense,” Evers urged the crowd. “Stand your ground in terms of fighting for justice and equality…. Take a negative and make a positive out of it. Ask where we are today,  assess where we care coming from, assess where we can go. Standing our ground for justice, for freedom, for equality.”

Evers, herself a woman deeply installed in the civil rights movement, paid tribute to the women who fought for equality, but were largely left in the shadows in the 1963 march.

“And I stand here today and I ask the question, ain’t I a woman? Where are the women who need to be acknowledge in this movement for freedom and justice? We must not forget them.”

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark and New Jersey senate candidate Booker spoke to those who, like him, were not alive during the 1963 march. He recounted words from his father:

“Boy, don’t you dare walk around here like you hit a triple,” Booker said his father used to tell him, “because you were born on third base.”

“You drink deeply from wells of freedom and liberty and opportunity that you did not dig. You eat lavishly from banquet tables prepared by your ancestors… We need to understand that there is still work to do,” Booker said.

Watch the speeches live here