Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Remembering the 1963 March on Washington

Every man is our brother, and every man’s burden is our own. Where poverty exists, all are poorer. Where hate flourishes, all are corrupted. Where injustice reins, all are unequal.” –Whitney Young

50 years ago on this day, the group of men fondly known as the “Big Six” marched arm in arm with hundreds of thousands of civil rights activists and supporters from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.  Armed with the courage, faith, and perseverance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Congressman John Lewis, Asa Phillip Randolph, Whitney Young, and James Farmer, Jr., over 200,000 individuals were led through the Washington Mall and stood unified to send a resounding message demanding the end of civil and economic discrimination.

During preparations of the March on Washington rally, organizers were harassed repeatedly, often receiving death threats to cease their actions.  However, civil rights leaders everywhere did not waver and continued to move forward.  Through their efforts the civil rights movement in America galvanized people everywhere to support the cause that every man, woman, and child deserved the same unalienable rights that the constitution guarantees.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech is often revered as the highlight of that historic march.  His speech still sparks inspiration, provides hope, and infuses courage to those who read those remarkable words and dares to dream.  Dr. King and the other members of the “Big Six” stood up to intolerance and racial injustice in America, and worked tirelessly to spread their message of equality for all utilizing nonviolent protests.  Through their efforts, and the efforts of countless others, the United States of American was led down a better path and has become a better and stronger nation.

Less than a year later the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.  Sadly Medgar Evers, Rev. George Lee, Herbert Lee, William Lewis Moore, and many other civil rights activists were killed prior to its passage.

Posted below is the actual text of Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

Full text to the "I Have a Dream" speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." 

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 GOP Technology Tax Business Roundtables Announced by House and Senate Caucus

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester), along with the entire House and Senate Republican Caucus, today announced the launch of the 2013 GOP Technology Tax Business Roundtables.

Announced as part of a concerted effort by the Massachusetts House and Senate Republican Caucus to repeal the crippling technology tax at the legislative level, the weeklong series of roundtable discussions will include conversations with technology industry professionals and representatives from area Chambers of Commerce.

“The Massachusetts economy has long relied upon, and benefited from, the services rendered by the high-tech industry,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “Since the Democratic-led legislature approved the crippling technology tax, one of the Commonwealth’s most vital sectors is just beginning to deal with the adverse effects of the tax. The 2013 GOP Technology Tax Business Roundtables will serve as an opportunity for businesses and Chambers of Commerce, which have been severely impacted by this reckless tax, to have the opportunity to discuss the detrimental effects and ways to reverse what is sure to suppress future economic growth within the technology industry and the Commonwealth.”

As the largest and broadest tax on computer and software services in the nation, no business, regardless of size or sector, is immune from the wide-ranging tax. House and Senate Republicans had each offered revenue-neutral proposals, which if passed, would have avoided the implementation of the technology tax all together, but the common-sense solution was defeated at the hands of legislative Democrats.

“We have seen clearly what happens when you tax first and ask questions later,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “In the face of a job killing new computer services tax, we are choosing a different path, one that first seeks information and then leads to action to prevent the economic damage the tax will bring.”

The technology tax, first billed with a fiscal impact of $161 million per year, will exceed that estimate, and stifle the innovative industry by close to $500 million a year. 

“Supporting the Commonwealth’s technology economy should never be a partisan decision and we value any legislative support in defense of this critically important sector,” said Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council. “The tech tax is aimed squarely at the heart of our innovation economy and will cause considerable harm if not repealed. We applaud those lawmakers who have spoken out against the tech tax and encourage more of them to join us in showing their clear support for the state’s tech economy and the hundreds of thousands of people who are part of it.”

Details for the Technology Tax Business Roundtables are as follows:

Monday, August 26, 2013
ShotgunFlat Creative Agency
12 South Main Street
Middleboro, MA 02346

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce
100 Sherman Avenue
Devens, MA 01434

Quinsigamond Community College
Southbridge Campus – Room 305
5 Optical Drive
Southbridge, MA 01550

Mansfield Town Hall
6 Park Row
Mansfield, MA 02048

Plymouth Area Community Television
4 Collins Avenue
Plymouth, MA 02360

Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Training Associates
281 Turnpike Road – 3rd Floor
Westborough, MA 01581

Wakefield Savings Bank
351 Main Street
Wakefield, MA 01880

Westfield Athenaeum
Lang Auditorium
6 Elm Street
Westfield, MA 01085

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Compelling Editorial for Crime Lab Oversight

In today’s Gloucester Daily Times, the newspaper cites and endorses legislation that the Senate Republican Caucus filed in January that would create more oversight of the state’s forensic crime labs.  Senate Bill 1175, An Act providing oversight of crime labs, was filed in response to the alleged actions of forensic crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan, which revealed that proper safeguards need to be in place to ensure a system of integrity.  Please click here to read today’s editorial.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on Seeking Further Oversight of the State’s Forensic Crime Labs

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding recent reports that over 40,000 criminal cases may have been tainted due to the actions of alleged rogue drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan, and legislation the Senate Republican Caucus filed in January 2013 that would create a drug lab oversight board:

“The fallout of the egregious actions of forensic crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan directly correlates with the lack of oversight of the state’s forensic drug labs.  In January I filed legislation that would instill the necessary oversight, accountability, and transparency needed to ensure a system that demands integrity.

The bill requires:

• Quarterly reports from the undersecretary of public safety for forensic sciences that will include, but not be limited to, information regarding:

-The volume of forensic services at each facility;

-The volume of forensic services of each employee at such facilities;

-The costs and length of time from submission for testing or procedures and the return of results from such facilities;

-Compliance with accreditation standards of such facilities; and

-Facility employee records, qualifications, and incident reports.

• A minimum of one public oversight hearing per year for the board to receive testimony relative to the operations of state laboratories; 

• A system to receive complaints or tips about potential problems at a state laboratory via telephone and e-mail;

• Certification that all state laboratories are accredited in accordance with the other requirements of the bill; and

• The timely reporting of suspected or potential criminal wrongdoing to the Attorney General for investigation and prosecution.

The price and consequences of this failure of oversight prove that we need an immediate hearing of this bill and its passage as soon as possible.”

Please click here to read the text of Senate Bill 1175.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on Computer Software Services Tax

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following published reports that the new computer software services tax introduced as part of the transportation finance bill could be subject to further legislative review this fall:

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that taxing the state’s innovation economy is a bad idea.  As far back as January, when the Governor proposed his version of the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget, Republican legislators have been warning that the new tax would seriously undermine the state’s competitiveness.

The new tax on computer software services was a bad idea when it was first proposed, and it’s a bad idea now.  We have opposed it consistently from day one, offering multiple amendments to eliminate or replace it, arguing at length during the transportation finance debate about its dire consequences, and we will be unyielding in our efforts to repeal it.  Putting a new tax on the innovation economy is no way to recover from a recession.”

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Recent GOP Caucus Media Appearances

On Wednesday evening, the members of the Senate Republican Caucus were guests on NECN’s “Broadside” with special guest host Joe Battenfeld.  The caucus discussed with Joe the recent departure of State Senator Michael Knapik and what that means for the minority party in the Senate and Massachusetts.  To watch Wednesday’s segment, please play the first posted video below.

Additionally, during Thursday’s Fox 25 Morning News, Co-Anchor Gene Lavanchy and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr discussed the meetings currently being held in the City of Boston this week by the Republican National Committee, and the direction Massachusetts needs to take to create more balance within state government.

To watch the Fox 25 segment, please play the second video posted below.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Media Alert: Senator Tarr on the Air with Fox 25

Tomorrow morning, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be a featured guest on the Fox 25 morning news.  Senator Tarr will be speaking with Co-Anchor Gene Lavanchy regarding the Republican National Committee meetings being held in Boston this week.

Please tune in at 7:45 a.m. to watch tomorrow’s interview.

Media Alert: On the Air with NECN’s Broadside

This evening the Senate Republican Caucus will be guests on NECN’s Broadside.  They will be discussing the current state of the Massachusetts Senate and the need for balance and different perspectives.  Please tune in at 6:00 p.m. to watch what will surely be a lively discussion.