Thousands march to mark the 60th anniversary of MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Tens of thousands gathered to march in Washington D.C. on Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating for the continuation of King’s vision amid perceived rollback in racial progress in the country.

The event: Organized by the National Action Network and Drum Major Institute, the event was framed as a “continuation” of King’s dream rather than a commemoration.
* Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist leading the National Action Network, addressed the crowd, emphasizing that 60 years after King’s speech, “we’re the dreamers.”
* Speakers addressed a variety of topics including systemic racism, hate speech and crimes, police brutality, gun violence and the loss of voting rights.

Speaking about current issues: A range of high-profile speakers, including much more varied in gender and topic than the original march, discussed various issues of concern.
* Actor Sasha Baron Cohen called for an end to antisemitism and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg urged younger generations to run for office to combat gun violence.
* Congressional members like Rep. James Clyburn and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries emphasized the need for federal voting rights protection in the face of ongoing state election restriction efforts.

Symbols of progress and reminders of shortfalls: The march saw a diverse turnout and highlighted the continued need for advancing civil rights and justice in America.
* Participants carried “Black Lives Matter” banners and wore “I Have a Dream” shirts.
* Despite the progress indicated by the more varied and gender-balanced speakers, the sentiment was echoed by marchers that much of what was needed 60 years ago is still needed today.

Higher-level discussions: Amidst the march, conversations also took place on new fronts of advocacy and legislative work.
* On the day before the march, leaders from the organizing groups held discussions with Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on topics including policing, redlining, and voting rights.
* The march’s true anniversary on Monday will see President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with organizers behind the original 1963 gathering to join in the observance.

View original article on NPR

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