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  • People hold placards at the Lincoln Memorial during the 'Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks' in Washington, DC, USA 28 August 2020.

    People hold placards at the Lincoln Memorial during the 'Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks' in Washington, DC, USA 28 August 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 29 August 2020
Opinion

 All 50,000 participants were required to wear face masks, while temperature checks were also held at the protest's entrance.

Thousands of people Friday took to the streets of Washington D.C. to protest against police brutality and racial injustice. The event was also set to commemorate the 1963 civil rights march when Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

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The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks, organized by civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, gathered thousands of people including civil rights activists calling for police reform. The activists also urged locals to vote in November’s general elections. 

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the keynote address in front of thousands from all around the world. 

"Black Lives Matter. We go to jail longer for the same crime like we don't matter, we get poverty, double the unemployment like we don't matter, we're treated with disrespect like we don't matter," he said. "So we figured we'd let you, Black Lives Matter and we won't stop until it matters to everybody," he added. 

Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, also addressed the crowd recalling the legacy his father left.

"We are courageous but conscious of our health, we are socially distant but spiritually united, we are masking our faces but not our faith in freedom, we are taking our struggle to the streets and social media," he said.  

"The nation has never seen such a mighty movement in a modern-day incarnation of what my father called the coalition of conscience," he added.

Relatives of police brutality victims, including those of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor also attended the event and addressed the protesters. Jacob Blake Sr, the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Washington, leaving him paralyzed, also addressed the crowd. 

“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 are going to stand up. Every Black person in the United States is going to stand up. We’re tired!”

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