March on Washington 60th Anniversary this Saturday!
Sixty years after the historic March on Washington, which featured Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, civil rights, faith, and labor activists will return this weekend for another march.
Among those speaking at the event will be Rev. King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III; his spouse, Arndrea Waters King; and Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network.
Other expected speakers include Yolanda Renee King, the 15-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.; Andrew Young, a former Congressman, mayor, United Nations ambassador and aide of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League; Janet Murguía, the CEO of UnidosUS; House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.); and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).
A “pre-program” featuring speakers will begin at 8 a.m. in front of the Lincoln Memorial, right where the Rev. King Jr. delivered his address, with the main program commencing at 11 a.m. The march itself will kick off at 1 p.m. and will culminate at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Organizers hope for a crowd of 75,000. Nearly 300 buses carrying marchers from up and down the Eastern Seaboard will converge upon D.C., along with more than 1,000 students from at least a dozen HBCUs.
Organizers note that the purpose of Saturday’s rally and march is not so much to commemorate the work that the 1963 event helped propel but rather to continue it.
“We must remember why we are still marching: the civil rights of Black, Brown, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQ Americans and women are under relentless attack,” Rev. Sharpton said in a statement posted to his group’s web site. “There is a concerted effort to undermine our democracy…I am honored to stand with the King family as we bring together these groups for a historic, cross-cultural and cross-generational demonstration to show that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Together, we will show the nation the strength in our unity and our resolve to realize Dr. King’s dream of a fair nation for all of us.”
Martin Luther King III, Chairman of the Drum Major Initiative, which funds civil rights causes, said Americans “need to rededicate ourselves to the mission my dad gave his life for.”
“It is difficult to not be disgruntled with everything going on in the world,” he said. “Black and Brown Americans are the target of violence, and our most vulnerable citizens are losing hope that brighter days are ahead. We have to do better. We have to hold our elected leaders accountable, and this anniversary gives us the opportunity to not just commemorate his historic calling, but to continue his efforts to make life better for everyone.”
Arndrea Waters King, who serves as President of the Drum Major Institute, said Rev. King “called upon all of us to work to eradicate the triple evils of racism, poverty and violence,” problems that of course are still with us today.
“As a mother, I’m afraid for my teenage daughter, but I am empowered to use my voice to ensure her future, and the future of all young girls, is as bright as her grandfather dreamed,” she said. “Too many politicians have made Black and Brown Americans’ and marginalized groups’ lives unnecessarily difficult. It won’t be easy, but if we use our voices for good, change will happen, and this is our time to demand it. It’s our turn to help realize the Dream and make democracy for all a reality.”
Groups sponsoring Saturday’s rally and march include Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Legal Defense Fund, NAACP, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the National Urban League, and UnidosUS.
If you can, please show up! If you can’t make it to the rally and march in person, the event is expected to be livestreamed at www.nationalactionnetwork.net. And C-SPAN is tentatively scheduled to provide live coverage beginning at 11 a.m. In person or remotely, you can use social media – please include the hashtag #MOW60.