The March on Washington Reincarnated: Everything to know

Let's play catch up on all the March's highlights

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Today, the March on Washington has been reincarnated.  On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the March on Washington occurred in-person and virtually from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

About 50,000 people were estimated in attendance in-person. If you weren't able to watch the march live, but would still like to witness this historic day, you can virtually attend with us at the link here.

What’s the significance of the march? 

The Rev. Al Sharpton announced the march during the eulogy of George Floyd, emphasizing that the march would be led by the families that “know the pain” of losing their loved ones to the police and law enforcement officers. 

Other than the fact that this is a modern-day March on Washington from the one held exactly 57 years ago today, it is a march of the same potency for the Black people who have unjustly died at the hands of law enforcement officers. Labeled as the “Get Your Knees Off Our Necks” march, this is followed by months of protest around the world and especially across the country, spurred by the murder of George Floyd. The purpose of this march is to focus on and promote criminal justice reform and holding police liable for their actions. 

Who is scheduled to speak?

The event is being headlined by Rev. Sharpton, who will be accompanied by M.L.K’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III. The event itself will be led by the NAACP in collaboration with the National Action Network. 

Most importantly, families of those who have lost their lives to law enforcement spoke. Speakers include relatives of Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Marqueese Alston, to name a few. 

All of this during a pandemic?

Unlike the RNC earlier this week, this event was socially distanced with crowd fencing and masks will be required. If an attendant did not have a mask, masks were handed out as well, along with the situating of hand-sanitizer and temperature checking stations.

For those of you who missed out, here are the highlights:

Many of the march’s speakers encouraged voter participation in the upcoming presidential election 

  • Rev. W. Franklin Richardson said, “This will be a mockery if we do not go to the polls, it will be a disgrace! We must grasp what our ancestors fought for!” He then smiled and said, “God Bless You and I hope to see you at the Victory Celebration.”

  •  Congresswoman Joyce Beatty said, “Silence is not an option, Black people face a symbolic chokehold every time we go out, every time we breathe.” She then encouraged the crowd to chant “Go vote! Go vote!"

Senator Cory Booker said: 

“We stand here in the legacy of the dream. The dream that MLK lifted up. We are here today because the dream is not done. The cries across the country let us know that we have work to do. We are on the shoulders of giants but we must step off the shoulders and lead ourselves. I am a living witness, a personal witness, that we are ready for this moment. There is no mountain we cannot move and there is no root of racism that we can’t pull up. Wake up America!” Fist up, he said, “Breonna, I’m representing you right now” 

Several speakers encouraged the passing of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. 

If passed, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would no longer allow states to change their election laws without federal approval, according to the New York Times. Many Democrats have argued that many Southern states in particular abuse these freedoms to make it harder for communities to vote, and therefore increases voter suppression. 

The George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, would increase police accountability for misconduct, “enhance transparency and data collection” and “eliminate discriminatory policing practices” if passed. 

Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez spoke of Elijah McClain and encouraged the passage of John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.

“Did we fight back for justice, did we fight back for Black Lives?” he said. “We are all fighting back, but our fight does not end here”. 

Kamala Harris Made A Virtual Appearance 

The Democrat vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris virtually attended to talk about the legacy of the late John Lewis. 

“For Lewis, the brutal murder of Emmet Tillis is what shook loose the activist inside of him,” she said. Harris then quoted Lewis in saying, “Emmet Till was my George Floyd, the Breonna Taylor, the Sandra Bland”. 

Several of Martin Luther King Jr’s relatives spoke 

  • The granddaughter of MLK, Yolanda Renee King, said:

“My generation has already taken to the streets, peacefully, with masks, socially distanced. We will be the generation that moves from me to we. Once and for all, now and forever!” 

(I’m not going to lie, as she speaks I feel tears swelling in my eyes, but my mom's watching, so I have to pretend all these tears are from a yawn. I feel grateful for King as she asserts the same grace and strength that her grandfather had.)

She then looked at the crowd and shouted, “Show me what democracy looks like, this is what looks like!” The crowd repeated it back, and the ring of the voices settled in the air. 

  • Her father, Martin Luther King III, spoke afterward.

“We are socially distanced, but spiritually united, we are taking our struggle to the streets, and on social media,” he said. “If we move forward with passion, we will be able to continue the movement that was started in the 1960s.”