August 28, 2020, marked the 57th anniversary of one of the most important civil rights movements of the 20th century - the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. A demonstration, where almost 200,000 people marched and gathered at the Lincoln Memorial demanding radical changes to the economic system, that has been affecting the Black Americans. The fight for racial equality that moved the nation and defined the careers of the most prominent civil rights activists the late Rep. John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther Jr. whose respective speeches live on up to this very date.
Times have changed, but the relevance of what they fought for decades ago, remained as significant as it was during those times of oppression and racial unrest. This 2020 march honors the famous speech delivered by Dr. King entitled, “I Have a Dream,” while attendees call for action in the wake of police shootings that have sparked protest and unrest across the country. Fifty-seven years later, thousands came back to the same steps of the Lincoln Memorial prompted by the deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, GA, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL, Dion Johnso in Phoenix, AZ. Earlier this week, protests broke out in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after another African-American, Jacob Blake was shot multiple times by police officers while his back was turned. His lawyers told USNews that Blake survived the incident but has been paralyzed. Organizers shared that individual families of the said victims of police brutality will be present in this event.
On buses, trains, cars, trucks, airplanes and on foot, people traveled from every state for the #MarchOnWashington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. An estimated 250,000 people participated. This pin was donated to our @amhistorymuseum by Virginia Beets. #ANationsStory pic.twitter.com/7wy3qVt5dP— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) August 28, 2020
As coronavirus cases in the country continue to surge, event organizers made sure to submit to the protocols imposed by the Washington D. C’s Mayor. Sources shared that face masks for marchers will be required, and hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks will also be provided on-site. People will only be granted entry to the site once they have had their temperature checked and are wearing a face mask to make sure they complied with the local health regulations.
This year’s march was a collaboration between NAACP and Sharpton’s National Action Network, whose founder, Rev. Al Sharpton, initially announced at George Floyd’s funeral in June about this demonstration. Based on CNN, he said, “On August 28, the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’re going back to Washington. We’re going back this August 28 to restore and recommit that dream [of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] … We need to go back to Washington and stand up, Black, white, Latino, Arab, in the shadows of Lincoln and tell them this is the time to stop this.”
The speakers for this movement tagged as Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks, will tackle the importance of the upcoming November 2020 elections where everyone who will participate in this movement is encouraged to register to vote, fill out the 2020 US Census, and sign up to be poll monitors and poll workers. According to Fastcompany, this will serve as a platform for them to speak about activism for Black civil rights, disability rights, and LGBT rights and against gun violence, among other causes. After participants delivered their piece at the Lincoln Memorial, organizers shared that they plan to walk to the Martin Luther King memorial about a half-mile away.