Below is a statement of Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on the March on Washington:
“Today marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The Feminist Majority Foundation is proud to be a partner in the anniversary march today convened by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. “The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” honors this anniversary and demands an end to the violence Black people in the U.S. face every hour of every day. Sadly, almost 60 years after Dr. King’s powerful call to action we are still demanding an end to racism and justice for those whose lives have been lost to anti-Black racist violence.
Despite the mammoth 2020 movement for racial justice that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, state-sanctioned police brutality against Black people continues unabated. We stand with the marchers who are on the streets today demanding accountability.
No law enforcement officer has been charged for the killing of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment. No officer has been arrested in the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times at a point-blank range in the back while his children screamed in terror. A Black person is three times more likely to be shot by police than a white person in the U.S. Despite the outrage, the rate of police killings is increasing. To date in 2020, 751 people have been killed by police while 1,004 people in 2019 were killed by police violence.
The time for action is now. The twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19 are killing Black people in the U.S. at an unprecedented rate. The lack of action by policymakers and law enforcement has resulted in what amounts to a genocide. The time is long overdue to heed the calls to defund the police and make real changes to end racism that both endangers and terrorizes millions of Black Americans. As we reflect on the message of today’s march, we join the calls for immediate justice for the many lives needlessly lost to racist violence.”