Attorney General Eric Holder on Saturday said that the spirit of the 1963 March on Washington had expanded to include gays, Latinos, women and people with disabilities.

Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, told tens of thousands of people who had gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the seminal march that he was grateful for those who stood up to “racist governments and governors.”

“Those who marched on Washington in 1963 had taken a long and difficult road – from Montgomery, to Greensboro, to Birmingham; through Selma and Tuscaloosa,” Holder told the crowd. “They marched – in spite of animosity, oppression, and brutality – because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept. Their focus, at that time, was the sacred and sadly unmet commitments of the American system as it applied to African Americans. As we gather today, 50 years later, their march – now our march – goes on. And our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities, and of countless others across this country who still yearn for equality, opportunity, and fair treatment.”

Events started Saturday morning leading up to Wednesday's anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s powerful I Have a Dream speech.