New march on Washington embraces history on fraught anniversary of King's speech

By Makini Brice and Nandita Bose WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of people took part in a march in Washington on Friday to denounce racism, on the anniversary of the march in 1963 where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr made his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech. 'You might have killed the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream,' civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton told Friday's crowd.

Reuters August 29, 2020 01:10:59 IST
New march on Washington embraces history on fraught anniversary of King's speech

New march on Washington embraces history on fraught anniversary of Kings speech

By Makini Brice and Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of people took part in a march in Washington on Friday to denounce racism, on the anniversary of the march in 1963 where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr made his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech.

"You might have killed the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream," civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton told Friday's crowd.

Activists and politicians gave speeches, including Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, who appeared in a recorded video. Many referenced John Lewis, the late lawmaker, who spoke at the 1963 march.

They also referred to the importance of voting in November's election and the links between activism for Black civil rights, disability rights and LGBT rights and against gun violence, among other causes.

"In so many ways, we stand together today in the symbolic shadow of history, but we are making history together right now," said Martin Luther King III, Martin Luther King Jr's son.

"Americans are marching together, many for the first time, and we're demanding real, lasting structural change," King added.

The half-mile march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Memorial, on a hot, humid day in the U.S. capital, comes amid a summer of racial unrest book-ended by two high-profile incidents in which Black men were shot by police.

Nationwide protests began in May, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

And earlier this week, protests broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after police officers shot another African-American man, Jacob Blake, multiple times in front of his children. Though Blake survived the shooting, lawyers have said he has been paralyzed.

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, appeared on stage, flanked by his wife and other family members. At times, he stopped to collect himself, apparently overcome with emotion.

"I wish George was here to see this," he said.

Allisa Findley, the sister of Botham Jean, an African-American man killed in Dallas by an off-duty police officer who said she mistook his apartment for her own, said: "I am tired of adding new names, adding new hashtags to an already long list of victims of police terror. We cannot allow our brothers and sisters to only be remembered for how they died."

CONTINUING THE FIGHT

Corrada Shelby, a 49-year-old human resources executive, said she joined the march to ensure the movement for racial equality does not fizzle out.

"This year the march is extra special because it is a continuation of the George Floyd protests," she said. "I'm here to empower our people and to make sure we continue the fight."

Jamaal Budik, a 23-year-old history student from Baltimore, said it was important for elected officials to understand that what had happened to Floyd and Blake could not continue. "We just want what has been long denied to us - racial justice," Budik said.

Friday's protest, called 'Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,' was planned by Sharpton's National Action Network.

The march comes amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, in which Black people have suffered disproportionately. Black people are more likely to be sickened and die from the virus and to lose jobs from the economic fallout, statistics show.

At one point, a speaker at the demonstration directed attendees to stand with their arms out to ensure there was enough distance between them. Staff wiped down the podium and microphones between speakers.

Though a lot of people wore masks, many did not.

A virtual commemoration is also planned, featuring Reverend William Barber, a prominent civil rights activist and the co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign. It will also include civil rights activists, politicians, artists and entertainers.

Kerrigan Williams, a founder of Freedom Fighters DC, said the activist group was organizing its own march later on Friday to promote a more radical agenda that includes replacing police departments with other public safety systems.

Separately, a wing of the Movement for Black Lives, a network of Black activists and organizations, has scheduled the "Black National Convention" on Friday night, following national conventions by the Democratic and Republican parties over the past two weeks.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Nandita Bose; Additional reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Heather Timmons, David Gregorio and Rosalba O'Brien)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.