Reflections on the March on Washington
By Julian Mack
On August 27, I had the honor of attending the 57th
Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
This anniversary event was held by Rev. Al Sharpton and the
National Action Network.
This event comes amidst the largest Civil Rights protest to
occur in American history after a worldwide uprising
following the public execution of George Floyd in
Minneapolis. Accenting the events was the grotesque shooting
of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI., shot in the back seven times
by Kenosha Police Department in front of his children. This
subsequently led to a protest in which Kyle Rittenhouse, a
Trump supporting 17-year old, traveled across state lines to
murder two protesters and maiming another, under the guise
of protecting property. These events came off the heels of
the Republican National Convention that repeated the
problematic trope of racism not being a current problem in
America. To say the least, racial tensions have been running
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, social distancing was
enforced: free masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer and
umbrellas were given out to everyone in attendance. As I
arrived, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty publicly demanded the
passage of the John Lewis voting rights act and the George
Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Congresswoman Beatty
represented the 54 members of the Congressional Black
The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Kamala
Harris, channeled the words of John Lewis in remembering the
life of Emmitt Till. In Lewis’ speech he articulated how
that awakened his inner activist. Senator Harris drew a
parallel to the power of Breonna Taylor’s name that has
awakened a new generation of activists.
Yolanda Renee King channeled the spirit of her grandfather,
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with an impassioned speech
telling the older generation that her generation would
effectively achieve her grandfather's dream. During her
speech I was video chatting with my oldest daughter.
My oldest daughter is the same age as Yolanda who is the
same age my mother was when the original March on Washington
took place in 1963. It was humbling, inspiring and
frustrating. It was beautiful to hear Martin Luther King
Jr.’s Dream still continuing to be fought for, but it was
also unnerving to know how much farther we as a nation still
have to go.
As the event was about to transition from the rally to the
March to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, there were
consecutive speeches by families who were victims of police
violence. Family members representing Eric Garner, Tamir
Rice, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey and countless other
families of victims of state-sanctioned violence gave quick
speeches pleading for community members to not forget their
names and to continue the fight for true systemic change.
At that moment I recommitted myself to ensuring my daughters
wouldn't have to stand in the same spot 57 years from now
fighting the same battles as our ancestors and the battles
many of us are still fighting today.