Despite sweltering heat and record temperatures, thousands of demonstrators marched on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on Saturday, August 26, 2023, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington.
The march, called Continuing the Dream March focused on the demands to demands for racial equality on the path to fulfill Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream.
The march, called Commitment March, was held at the Lincoln Memorial, the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights movement activists marched and called for similar reforms and civil rights. It is at the same site that Martin Luther King Jr delivered the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and late John Lewis, then a young man, requested that rights that will lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The event was convened by the Kings’ Drum Major Institute and the Rev. Al Sharpton ‘s National Action Network and was attended by a host of Black civil rights leaders and a multiracial, interfaith coalition of allies who rallied attendees on that same spot where more than 250,000 people gathered on August 28, 1963. The 1963 March is considered one of the greatest and most consequential racial justice and equality demonstration in U.S. history.
Many speakers gave inspirational messages and pointed to gun violence against Black people, end of institutional racism and the push for racial equality, with the crowd chanting "No Justice, No peace."
The key speakers included:
- Ashley Sharpton, an activist with National Action Network and daughter of the Reverend Al Sharpton;
- Kimberle Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum, Yolanda Renee King, the 15-year-old granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr;
- Alphonso David, president and CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum;
- Kimberle Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum;
- Rev. Al Sharpton of National Action Network;
- Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a key player in the campaign for the Civil Rights Act's enactment.
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Ashley Sharpton said in a speech that Americans need to "turn demonstration into legislation" and cannot allow the sacrifices of ancestors in the fight for equality to have been in vain.
Kimberle Creenshaw, remarking on the fact that the anniversary occurs at a troubling moment, referred to the banning of books and classroom teachings in some US states based on what is known as the critical race theory which explores the legacy of racism in America. Kimberle Creenshaw said: "The very history that the march is commemorating is being not only challenged but distorted".
Alphonso David noticed advances made in the last 60 years but also the long road ahead to reach the goal
“We have made progress, over the last 60 years, since Dr. King led the March on Washington. Have we reached the mountaintop? Not by a long shot.”
Jonathan Greenblatt abounded in the same direction, saying that "We've seen an expansion of antisemitism, we've seen an intensification of racism," and pointing to the recent Supreme Court rulings against the affirmative action and the
Yolanda Renee King, delivered an emotional speech from the same spot where, 60 years ago, her grandfather Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the “I Have A Dream” speech.
“If I could speak to my grandfather today, I would say I’m sorry we still have to be here to rededicate ourselves to finishing your work and ultimately realizing your dream... Today, racism is still with us. Poverty is still with us. And now, gun violence has come for places of worship, our schools and our shopping centers.”
After the speeches, the crowd marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
On Monday August 28, 2023, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will observe 60th anniversary of the March on Washington by meeting and plan to meet with the organizers of the 1963 March and the relatives of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr..
@AfroAmerica Network 2023.