After a summer of tension, unrest, and protests over police brutality against African Americans in the US, some 50,000 demonstrators gathered in Washington to demand racial justice.
Formally called the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks – a reference to George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in May after a policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes – speakers urged attendees to vote for change.
The 2020 March fell on the 57th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington, an iconic event in American history, credited with spurring the passage of the Civil Rights Act outlawing segregation the following year.
Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr was among Friday’s speakers.
The event was organised by civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther King III.
George Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, asked protesters to be his legacy, three months after his death – which set off a wave of demonstrations across the US and the globe.
“My brother cannot be a voice today,” Floyd said. “We have to be that voice, we have to be that change.”
The event comes amid renewed national tension after Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot seven times in the back by police in Wisconsin.
His father, Jacob Blake Sr, at the rally on Friday told those gathered that they were holding court on racism in America, and the verdict was “guilty, guilty, guilty”.
Other presenters included a young activist calling for an end to the gun violence plaguing black communities, and representatives from unions, gay rights groups, and Hispanic activism groups, who expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
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