Washington, D.C. – Nearly 70,000 people converged at the Lincoln Memorial to demand police accountability and racial equity across all sectors in America. The march was originally announced in June by Al Sharpton as he delivered the eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral. Dedicating the march to police accountability, dozens of mothers and relatives who have lost loved ones to the hands of police were invited to speak about their experiences throughout the rally.
The gathering also honored the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream” speech.
To honor his legacy, his son Martin Luther King III and his 12-year-old grand-daughter, Yolanda Renee King, spoke at the demonstration.
“We must never forget the American nightmare of racist violence exemplified when Emmett Till was murdered on this day in 1955 and the criminal justice system failed to convict his killers. Sixty-five years later we still struggle for justice. Demilitarizing the police, dismantling mass incarceration, and declaring indeterminately as we can that Black lives matter because in our struggle there all no permanent victories.”— Martin. Luther King III.
Dubbed the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” march, the crowd was invigorated when 12-year-old granddaughter of Dr. King talked about the relevancy of her grandfathers words.
“We will fulfill my grandfather’s dream,” says Renee King.
At the center of everyone’s speeches was the importance of the election in November and the responsibility we all have to vote. A video that was played on two jumbo screens amplified a message by Kamala Harris whose Presidential candidacy led in her becoming the VP on the Democratic ticket with Joe Biden.
Despite the potential of becoming the first female and Black vice president, Harris has not received full support from the Black community, where many concerns have been raised about her character and intentions, including her career as a prosecutor and state Attorney General which resulted in convictions and incarceration of dozens of Black men in California.
A march followed the speeches that ended for some at the MLK memorial and others marched all the way to the White House.
After the scheduled events the energy of the historic day carried over into impromptu gatherings where people expressed themselves through music, dancing, poetry and chanting.
The speeches and march were organized by the National Action Network and the NAACP.