Exactly 57 years after the first March on Washington and 65 years after the murder of Emmett Till, demonstrators are coming together once more to protest against police brutality and racial discrimination.
A march continuing the unfinished work of its predecessor has been convened today by the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network along with a number of other organizations. Organizers describe the march as displaying their “advocacy for comprehensive police accountability reform, the Census, and mobilizing voters for the November elections.”
Family members of Black people killed by police such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and Jacob Blake will speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Rev. Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, the son of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), will also speak. Protesters will then march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The event will be livestreamed.
Following the march, the Movement For Black Lives will broadcast a Black National Convention at 7pm EST. Organizers will pass a political agenda which advocates for defunding police departments and reinvesting the money in community services, along with a number of other policies supporting black communities.
Rev. Sharpton announced the march at the funeral for George Floyd, who was murdered by police after an officer kneeled on his neck for almost 9 minutes. The name of the march, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Commitment March on Washington,” is in honor of Floyd.
“The reason why George Floyd laying there with that knee on his neck resonated with so many African-Americans is because we have all had a knee on our neck,” said Rev. Sharpton. Rev. Sharpton has stated that the march will “restore and recommit” the dream MLK described in his “I Have A Dream” speech during the first March on Washington.
Protesters will advocate for the passage of two legislative measures combating police violence and racial discrimination. One of these measures is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would prohibit no-knock warrants in drug cases, ban chokeholds and create a national registry of police misconduct among other measures. The protesters will also call for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honor of Sen. John Lewis, who passed away recently and spoke at the first March on Washington. The bill would combat racial discrimination against voters.
Organizers expect 50,000 protesters to attend the march in Washington D.C., while thousands more will watch from home or attend smaller marches in states such as South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Wisconsin. Strict measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 are being enforced, with mandatory temperature checks being administered and masks required.