BY AARON MORRISON, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – End of a week of protests and outrage following the police shooting of a black man in Wisconsin, civil rights advocates will highlight the scourge of police and vigilante violence against black Americans in a commemoration of the 1963 march on Washington for work and freedom.
Thousands of people are expected to walk the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday.
where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his landmark “I Have A Dream” speech, a vision of racial equality that remains elusive for millions of Americans .
And they are rallying in the wake of another shootout by a white police officer on a black man – this time Jacob Blake, 29, in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday – sparking days of protests and violence that left two dead.
“We need to create a different consciousness and a different climate in our nation,” said Martin Luther King III, son of the late civil rights icon and co-caller for the march.
“It won’t happen, however, unless we are mobilized and galvanized,” King said Thursday.
He and Reverend Al Sharpton, whose civil rights organization, the National Action Network, planned the event on Friday, said the purpose of the march was to show the urgency of federal police reform. and condemn violence. racial and demand protection of voting rights in advance. general elections in November.
To underscore the urgency, Sharpton brought together the families of an ever-expanding victim appeal: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Blake, among others.
Following the memorial event which will include remarks by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents many families of the victims, attendees will parade to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park, near the National Mall, and then they will disperse. .
The turnout in Washington will be lighter than initially.
expected due to the city’s restrictions on the coronavirus pandemic that restrict out-of-state visitors to the nation’s capital. To that end, the National Action Network has organized a handful of satellite march events in South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada, among others.
As participants marched through Washington.
Sharpton called on those in other states to march to the offices of US senators and ask for their support for federal policing reforms. Sharpton said protesters should also call for stronger protection for U.S. voters, in memory of the late Congressman John Lewis who, until his death on July 17, was the last living speaker in the initial march.
In June, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, which would ban police use of choke maneuvers and end qualified immunity for officers, among other reforms. Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis policeman held one knee to the man’s neck for nearly eight minutes, sparking weeks of protests and long riots from coast to coast. the other.
In July, after Lewis’ death, Democratic Senators reintroduced a law that reinstated a provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. The law previously required states with a history of repression. voters seeking federal authorization first change the voting rules. Governor: The National Guard
Both measures are pending action in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“We are asking for it to be enacted,” King said. “Senators will not even intervene on this. It gives us the opportunity to say, ‘OK, we gave you a chance, we as people, like blacks, whites, Latinos and Hispanics and we will vote you. ” ”
He added: “There are a number of senators who have to leave because they do not have the skills or have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to understand what needs to happen in the community.”
On Thursday evening, the NAACP began commemorating the March on Washington with a virtual event that included remarks from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali.
“Thanks to the activism of countless young people, the movement for justice is advancing,” Pelosi said. “We need to keep fighting and, as John Lewis would say, ‘find a way to get in the way.’