Today marks 57 years since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington. It also, unfortunately, marks 65 years since Emmett Till was beaten and lynched by two White men after a false accusation by a white woman. On a day carrying so much weight, all attention should be on Washington, D.C. for the 2020 March on Washington.
Led by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, the day’s kicked off with speeches during an event titled, Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks”, a nod to George Floyd’s death by Derek Chauvin and a quote Sharpton said at Floyd’s funeral.
During today’s event, a sure standout was MLK’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King. She spoke to the young people of the nation and encouraged them to join in the fight to end racism.
“We have mastered the selfies and TikToks, now we must master ourselves,” said the young Queen. “Our generation has already taken to the streets, peacefully and with masks and socially distanced, to protest racism…Join me in pledging that we have only just begun.”
Letetra Wideman, Jacob Blake Jr.’s sister, also spoke out and encouraged black people to stay focused and to practice self-love. She also called out America’s longstanding history of oppression, she did so directly and without fear.
“America, I am here to tell you in front of the world that you got the right one,” said Wideman. “God has been preparing me. America your reality is not real, catering to your delusions is no longer an option, We will not pretend, we will not be your docile slaves, we will not be a footstool to oppression.”
“Black America, I hold you accountable. You must stand. You must fight, but not with violence and chaos. With self-love,” she said. “Unify! Group economics!”
Jacob, “Big Jake”, Blake Sr. also spoke out and held “court” against injustices against black people. He dubbed America “guilty” for what happened to other victims and his son who was shot seven times in the back.
“No justice, no peace, Jacob Blake, Jacob Blake!” said the father. “There are two systems of justice in the United States, there’s a white system and there’s a black system. The black system isn’t doing so well but we’re gonna stand up!
“We’re gonna hold court today on systematic racism, we’re gonna have court right now. GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! Racism against all of us, GUILTY!”
He then went on to tick off the names of black victims including Trayvon Martin.
Numerous family members of other police brutality/systemic racism victims also spoke out. Included in the group; Ahmad Aubrey’s mother and father, Oscar Grant’s mother, Eric Garner’s son, and the mother of Dontre Hamilton. Like Jacob Blake, Dontre was shot by a Wisconsin police officer. Dontre’s shooting, unfortunately, was fatal and following protests, Milwaukee police officers were equipped with body cameras.
CNN has excerpts below:
Sister of Botham Jean — who was killed by ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger while in his home when Guyger walked in, thinking it was her own — said people need to keep pushing for “change so that their lives were not taken in vain.” “We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” Allisa Charles-Findley said.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, said she carries “a very broken heart but also a grateful heart that God chose my son to be a part of this historic movement.” “I love you all for standing with us,” she said.
Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery Sr., remembered his son, saying how heartbroken he still is at his passing. “I used to speak to my son on the phone every day, and now sometimes I feel like he forgot to call me,” he said.
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, spoke after the audience chanted her son’s name. She said “even though we’re going through a crisis, even though it looks dark, I want you to be encouraged.” “Don’t stop saying Black Lives Matter. Don’t stop fighting, don’t stop protesting, stand together. We were built for this,” Fulton said.
Eric Garner’s son spoke, saying “I’m challenging the young people to vote.” He advocated for peaceful marching and urges protesters against looting.
Oscar Grant’s mother wanted everyone to know “that this race is not given to the swift or the strong, but to the one who endures.” Wanda Johnson urged people to “continue to band together, to continue to call the injustices unjust.”
Dontre Hamilton’s mother urged people to vote this fall. “I will never stop fighting for you,” she said about her son.
Philonise Floyd, brother to George Floyd, also spoke out and stopped several times after becoming emotional.
Similarly, Breonna Taylor’s mom Tamika Palmer tried to power through a speech but became overwhelmed. Crowd participants cheered her on by shouting “Say Her Name; Breonna Taylor!” before Reverend Sharpton took over.
Did YOU watch the March on Washington???