Despite sweltering heat and record temperatures thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, DC, on Friday, August 28, 2020, to demand an overhaul of the country's criminal justice system, end of institutional racism and the push for racial equality. The march, called Commitment March, was held at the Lincoln Memorial, the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights movement activists marched and called for similar reforms and civil rights. It is at the same site that Martin Luther King Jr delivered the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and late John Lewis, then a young man, requested that rights that will lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The crowd chanted or held signs messages, such as "No Justice! No Peace!", "Black Lives Matter", and "Hands up, don't shoot."
Organizers, in the spirit of 1963 March on Washington, gave a series of speeches before attendees began to march through the streets of Washington, DC. The march ended at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
The protesters highlighted a theme, "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks", to remind the people of the police brutality and the national outrage following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Key speakers included The Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, The Rev. Al Sharpton, Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, Tamika Palmer, the mother of Briana Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville, Ky., police in her home in March, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, several Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Aalayah Eastmond, Gun control activist and 2018 Parkland, Florida high school shooting survivor
Martin Luther King III said: "If you're looking for a savior, get up and find the mirror. We must become the heroes of the history we're making."
Kamala Harris said: "If we work together to challenge every instinct our nation has to return to the status quo ... we have an opportunity to make history, right here, right now."
Philonise Floyd said, clearly fighting back tears: "I wish George were here to see this right now. My brother, George, he's looking down right now. He's thankful for everything that everybody is doing right now... Our leaders, they need to follow us while we're marching to enact laws to protect us,"
Tamika Palmer said: "I just want to thank everybody who's been in support of getting justice for Breonna Taylor. What we need is change, and we're at a point where we can get that change, but we have to stand together, we have to vote."
Aalayah Eastmond said: "Police violence is gun violence, and gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black youth. We demand to live in peace. We demand to live in spaces where the best of Black culture can thrive."
@AfroAmerica Network 2020.