Updated 12:03 p.m. ET
Thousands of demonstrators descend on the nation’s capital on Friday to demand an overhaul to the nation’s prison justice system and push for racial equality on the similar web site Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. known as for those self same reforms a long time in the past in his iconic “I Have A Dream Speech.”
Like the 1963 March on Washington, organizers opened with a collection of speeches on the Lincoln Memorial earlier than attendees plan to march by means of the streets of the town, this time ending on the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.
This march – dubbed “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” — comes at a very tense time as frustration over police brutality and use of drive have sparked nationwide outrage following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
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A typical theme all through the march was a name to motion for attendees to register and to vote within the fall elections.
Several of the audio system led the crowds in chants of “No Justice! No Peace!” And repeated the chorus that “Black Lives Matter.” At one level some within the crowd may very well be overheard saying “hands up, don’t shoot.”
“We are in unprecedented, uncertain times,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., informed the group.
“Yes, it is possible to legislate justice and accountability, people over profits, joy over trauma, freedom over fear. Yes, it is possible to write budgets that actually value black lives,” she stated.
Gun management activist and 2018 Parkland, Fla., highschool capturing survivor Aalayah Eastmond stated gun violence is a scourge on black communities.
“Police violence is gun violence,” Eastmond stated. “And gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black youth. We demand to live in peace. We demand to live in spaces where the best of Black culture can thrive.”
The program’s headliners can be civil rights activists Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.
Later the occasion will characteristic members of the family of Black Americans who’ve been killed by police or in different racially-charged incidents, together with Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and others whose names have grow to be rallying cries throughout current nationwide protests demanding their killers be held accountable.
Civil Rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represents lots of the victims’ households, stated “the problem isn’t de-escalation, the problem is racism.”
“Certainly as with all these tragedies you want accountability because we can’t get justice,” Crump stated Friday on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Warren Okay. Leffler/Library of Congress
“Justice would be George Floyd being able to take another breath today. Justice would be Breonna Taylor still being here. Justice would be Ahmaud Arbery still being here. So the only thing we can hope for right now is accountability.”
Racial justice and police reform is a hot-button political difficulty as election day attracts close to.
On Thursday as Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president, he underscored his self-proclaimed moniker because the “law and order president,” whereas accusing Democratic challenger Joe Biden as somebody who repeatedly tears down America. Meanwhile, a whole lot of demonstrators gathered just outside on the White House’s South Lawn to decry racism and demand police accountability.
The march additionally comes on the heels of the capturing of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday. Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times within the again at shut vary. He is now paralyzed from the waist down, based on his household’s legal professionals.
That capturing was captured on video and went viral on social media, sparking days of demonstrations that turned lethal this week.
A 17-year-old from Illinois allegedly opened fired on protesters in Kenosha, killing two and injuring a 3rd. The shooter, a white male, reportedly has ties to a militia and is a staunch supporter of law enforcement.
He is going through six prison fees, together with first-degree intentional murder, in connection to the capturing.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic additionally looms over the occasion.
Due to a requirement imposed by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser that guests to the district from high-risk states self-quarantine for 14 days, turnout for the march is anticipated to be lighter than organizers had initially anticipated.
Event organizers had deliberate for 100,000 attendees, however a allow issued by the National Park Service signifies about half which can be anticipated, based on The Washington Post.