Capping a week of protests and outrage over the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin, civil rights advocates will highlight the scourge of police and vigilante violence against Black Americans at a commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Thousands are expected at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” address, a vision of racial equality that remains elusive for millions of Americans.
And they are gathering on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man — this time, 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking days of protests and violence that left two dead.
“We’ve got to create a different consciousness and a different climate in our nation,” said Martin Luther King III, a son of the late civil rights icon and co-convener of the march.
“That won’t happen though, unless we are mobilized and galvanized,” King said Thursday.
He and the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose civil rights organization, the National Action Network, planned Friday’s event, said the objective of the march is to show the urgency for federal policing reforms, to decry racial violence, and to demand voting rights protections ahead of the November general election.
To underscore the urgency, Sharpton has assembled the families of an ever-expanding roll call of victims: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Blake, among others.
Following the commemorative rally that will include remarks from civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents several of the victims’ families, participants will march to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in West Potomac Park, next to the National Mall, and then disperse.
Turnout in Washington will be lighter than initially intended due to city-imposed coronavirus pandemic restrictions that limit out-of-state visitors to the nation’s capital. To that end, the National Action Network organized a handful of satellite march events in South Carolina, Florida and Nevada, among others.
While participants march in Washington, Sharpton has called for those in other states to march on their U.S. senators’ offices and demand their support of federal policing reforms. Sharpton said protesters should also demand reinvigorated U.S. voter protections, in memory of the late Congressman John Lewis who, until his death on July 17, was the last living speaker at the original march.
In June, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, which would ban police use of stranglehold maneuvers and end qualified immunity for officers, among other reforms. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white police officer in Minneapolis held a knee to the man’s neck for nearly eight minutes, sparking weeks of sustained protests and unrest from coast to coast.
In July, following Lewis’ death, Democratic senators reintroduced legislation that would restore a provision of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. The law previously required states with a history of voter suppression to seek federal clearance before changing voting regulations.
Both measures are awaiting action in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“We’re demanding that that be enacted,” King said. “The senators won’t even take action on it. That gives us an opportunity to say, ‘OK, we gave you guys a chance, we as the people, as Black people, as white people, as Latinos and Hispanics and we’re going to vote you out.’”
He added: “There are a number of senators who need to go because they don’t have the capacity or have not demonstrated they have a capacity to understand what needs to happen in the community.”
Thursday evening, the NAACP began commemorating the March on Washington with a virtual event that featured remarks from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali.
“Thanks to the activism of countless young people, the movement for justice goes on,” Pelosi said. “We must keep up the fight and, as John Lewis would say, ‘find a way to get in the way.’”
Later in the evening, the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 Black-led organizations that make up the broader Black Lives Matter movement, will hold its virtual Black National Convention.
The convention will coincide with the unveiling of a new Black political agenda intended to build on the success of this summer’s protests. The platform will deepen calls for defunding police departments in favor of investments to healthcare, education, housing and other social services in Black communities, organizers said.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press
Christopher M. Kennard
August 28, 2020 at 8:13 am
Unless we remain a solid, determined majority across the land as the 2020 people’s peaceful “political revolution” movement to create positive, productive change in the USA and around the world for us all . . . then we likely will fail once again.
Each group or element of our movement has particular issues and proposed resolutions that are part and parcel of our “political revolution” . . . based upon our unity, our mutual acceptance and honest, legitimate elections that include us all voting . . . not just the few.
I offer my comment for strong unity between us all as a people’s peaceful “political revolution” in light of my 50 + years being “engaged” in our national movement since 1967 . . . when I first became involved as a SDS activist, later as a Conscientious Objector and Draft Counselor during the era of the Civil Rights and Vietnam War Movement . . . remaining engaged over the decades to now as a Bernie Sanders volunteer coordinator living in North Central Florida, still involved.
Quote from last line of the news commentary:
“The convention will coincide with the unveiling of a new Black political agenda intended to build on the success of this summer’s protests. The platform will deepen calls for defunding police departments in favor of investments to healthcare, education, housing and other social services in Black communities, organizers said.”
I believe the agenda remains and must remain focused on “unity” not a just a Black political agenda . . . nor a White political agenda . . . nor a Hispanic political agenda . . . nor an Asian political agenda . . . nor religious political agendas . . . nor fragmenting off other racial, ethnic, religious, social-economic groups or “social classes” of people . . . all of which is designed to divide and stir divisive internal dissent among the people of America . . . to weaken our will, our focus and our ability to create positive, productive change in the future for us all based upon our numbers, our unity, our resolve to succeed for all 99% of us.
I recall how in the 1960’s LBJ angrily opposing Dr. Martin Luther King’s successful merging of the Civil Rights and Peace Movement in 1967 and ’68 by declaring the racism in America underlies the racist Vietnam War . . . .
Both the Democratic Party and Republican Party joined together behind the scenes to get rid of groups like Martin Luther King’s peaceful people’s party movement, the Black Panthers Community outreach programs in California . . . the White Panthers in the Mid-West . . . the SDS and other effective Black and White groups across the country . . . by assassinations, police raid killings, set-ups for false arrests and imprisonment . . . and by far one of the most far reaching, effective and deadly means to stifle and end a social movement. . . by isolating, defaming, vilifying these groups to nullify the good, positive, productive actions they were performing for the good of us all, way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
We cannot fall apart and fail to promote and create permanent, lasting positive change as we did after knocking LBJ, then “Tricky Dick” Nixon out of the White House . . . only to end up with racist Ronnie Reagan, the Bush Dynasty fossil fuel lobby and now Trump from the NYC gutters.
Time for a change . . . now, not later!!!
August 30, 2020 at 5:16 am
You (We) had your hope and change black empowerment President , elected with millions of of white voters Democrat and Republican remember? Remind me exactly how he improved your inner city ghettos and black crime wave, unemployment , worst economic downturn in history? What exactly did he do to financially and spiritually improve the lives of those kids living in drug invested slums? Did Barrack send a C130 to Baltimore with 150 billion in cash on wooden pallets? No….that was IRAN .
FBI statistics prove white cops hunting down and deliberately shooting unarmed civilians is a lie. Every black hero shot by officers was a convicted criminal and their victims were black. Now BLM terrorists and Antifa savages are hiring black owner businesses, dragging people out of cars, looting , rioting and shooting black folks again. So your hopes and dreams have been shattered again by your own violence prone armed ex-con gangsters masquerading as Marxist revolutionaries. Stop blaming the MAN.
August 30, 2020 at 5:33 am
Correction….Now BLM and Antifa savages are burning black owned businesses.
The democrats are responsible for the cities they have controlled for over fifty years. However history teaches us they come into the big inner cities , make promises, tell you how to vote, then they leave and buy a 3 million dollar mansion on the ocean right barrack?
Nothing changes! Now you call for defunding the police!? You must live in a safe gated community because the cops are the last defence in the hood for those poor people. Who’s the real racists now?
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