1 of 6 | President Joe Biden urges an end to "hate-fueled violence" as he participates in a reception to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on Monday in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Chris Kleponis/ UPI | License Photo
Aug. 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington on Monday with members of Martin Luther King Jr.'s family at the White House, and a reception honoring the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as he urged an end to "hate-fueled violence."
Biden said while the historic anniversary reminds us of "how far we've come," it is also a reminder of "where we need to go" before referencing Saturday's racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., where three Black people were killed by a White gunman who allegedly left behind racist manifestos.
"A lot's happening around things you wouldn't think would be happening today on the anniversary of the 60 years of the March," Biden said. "I've said to the country we can't let hate prevail, and it's on the rise. It's not diminishing."
"Silence is, I believe -- and I've said many times -- silence is complicity. We're not going to remain silent," Biden added.
The president and Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of the King family, as well as Rev. Al Sharpton and Anti-Defamation League chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt, in the Oval Office where King also met with former President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
"The vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us, yet there are those who are intentionally trying to divide us as a nation, and I believe each of us has a duty, a duty to not allow factions to sever our unity," Harris said.
Later Monday, Biden hosted a reception honoring the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is also marking its 60th anniversary. The president talked about King's dream and civil rights achievements in the United States, such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, before saying "for all the progress, there is a backlash."
"A reminder that throughout our history when the great nations have taken great steps forward, they often are met by the oldest, darkest and most vicious forces in the country rising up and dragging us down again," Biden said, as he referenced bombings of Black churches and the recent Jacksonville shooting.
"On Saturday morning, the nation observed the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. By the evening, a White gunman in Jacksonville, Fla., reportedly driven by racial animus, went on a shooting rampage at a store near Edward Waters University -- a historical Black university. Three Black Americans were murdered in cold blood," Biden said.
The president reminded the group of the hope delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, when more than 200,000 people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for what was officially called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The March ended with King delivering his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
"A new American anthem for jobs and freedom, political rights and economic justice to redeem as what he described as quote 'the promissory note to which every American was to fall heir,'" Biden said. "A promise derived from the very idea of America that we're all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our entire lives."
After thousands gathered this past weekend at the Lincoln Memorial -- where King gave his speech -- and commemorated 60 years since the March on Washington, Biden vowed Monday to keep working.
"While we never fully lived up to King's promise, we've never -- thank God -- fully walked away from it because people never stopped marching."