Hundreds gathered in Washington DC on Aug. 28 to commemorate the authentic 1963 March on Washington, precisely 57 years later. Unfold throughout the Nationwide Mall, attendees turned towards the Lincoln Memorial to recollect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of racial equality — and to plead for the crucial work to attain it. Speeches ran all through the afternoon, from the households of victims of police brutality and iconic motion leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.
Shouts of “Say her title, Breonna Taylor” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police” echoed from the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the heights of the Washington Monument. Taylor’s mom confronted the expansive crowd, together with the siblings of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin’s mom, Ahmaud Arbery’s mom, and the father and sister of Jacob Blake, amongst others affected by police brutality and racial injustice. Feelings ran excessive as audio system remembered their misplaced family members. “We will have court docket proper now. Responsible. Responsible. Responsible. Racism towards all of us. Responsible. Responsible. Responsible,” Blake’s father, additionally named Jacob Blake, mentioned. “And we’re not taking it anymore.”
“We will get up, each Black individual in the United States goes to face up,” he continued. “We’re drained. I am bored with taking a look at cameras and seeing these younger Black and brown individuals endure.” His assertion was met with cheers from the crowd, as he mourned for a now-paralyzed son, shot seven instances in the again by police in Kenosha, WI.
This “sufficient is sufficient” angle was a typical thread amongst the speechmakers and the marchers. Individuals pissed off with the gradual outcomes of an exhaustive combat channeled their disappointment into do-it-yourself indicators. References to the late Congressman John Lewis have been plentiful over paper and the podium as the drive to get into “good bother” grew. Even 12-year-old Yolanda Renee King, Dr. King’s solely granddaughter, advised younger individuals to arrange for the combat of their lives.
“I need to ask the younger individuals right here to hitch me in pledging that we now have solely simply begun to combat — and that we’ll be the technology that strikes from me to we,” she mentioned. “We’re going to be the technology that dismantles systemic racism as soon as and for all, now and perpetually. We’re going to be the technology that calls a halt to police brutality and gun violence as soon as and for all, now and perpetually.”
Yolanda’s ideas have been echoed by her father, King III. He stood in the similar spot the place his father recited the “I Have a Dream” speech 57 years earlier and made a plea of his personal: Vote. “For those who’re on the lookout for a savior, rise up and discover a mirror. We have to be [our own] hero,” he reminded the crowd.
Sharpton additionally invoked Dr. King’s spirit as he assured listeners the late reverend’s well-known dream is way from dormant. “We come as we speak Black and white and all races and religions and sexual orientations to say this dream remains to be alive,” he mentioned. “You might need killed the dreamer, however you’ll be able to’t kill the dream as a result of reality crushed to earth shall rise once more. Get your knee off our neck. Sufficient is sufficient.”
The Sharpton organized the occasion beneath the title “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Dedication March” — a nod to George Floyd, who died when police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. This ongoing violence towards the Black neighborhood is what motivated Sharpton to convey the march again to DC in the first place, and the decided vitality unfold all through the crowd as attendees started the stroll from the Lincoln Memorial to the statue of Dr. King.
The Lincoln Memorial is symbolic, not just for Dr. King’s speech, however for the guarantees made by President Abraham Lincoln to the Black neighborhood that by no means got here to fruition. “He promised us full citizenship if we fought to avoid wasting the Union,” Sharpton mentioned. “We by no means bought the full citizenship. We by no means bought the reparations. We have come to Lincoln since you promised, Mr. Lincoln, and the promise has been damaged.”
However what’s a march with out continued motion? The occasion’s members weren’t simply sitting in the signature DC warmth and humidity for an off-the-cuff stroll. There was repeated emphasis on pressuring the U.S. Senate to move the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and voting legislators into workplace that may make equal justice a precedence. In different phrases, the combat should proceed lengthy after toes cease hitting the pavement.
“Black lives matter,” Sharpton mentioned. “And we cannot cease till it issues to everyone.”