A massive march in Washington DC on Friday showed echoes of the 1963 March on Washington. Eerily, the speakers at Friday’s rally showed a similar urgency and begged for the same changes as Martin Luther King did in 1963. Speaking from the Lincoln Memorial, keynote guests at the march called on America to hold police accountable for their excessive use of force.
One speaker was the sister of Jacob Blake, Letetra Widman. “We will not be a footstool to oppression,” Widman told the amassed crowd. “Black America, I hold you accountable. You must stand. You must fight, but not with violence and chaos,” Widman implored.
The use of violence by protesters has been condemned by some, but branded as a necessary evil by others. Widman’s brother was shot seven times by police on Sunday after trying to break up a fight between two of his neighbors.
Speakers Make Emphatic Pleas
Widman’s brother survived the shooting, though he has reported that he has lost the use of his legs. It’s unclear if this will be a temporary paralysis or long-term.
Blake’s family has sued Kenosha police, the police precinct that the officers involved are employed through. Other keynote speakers included Martin Luther King III, Dr. King Jr.’s son.
King III spoke on issues including the urgent need for police reform and the issues facing black Americans in 2020. The event, which was organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton, was meant to evoke comparisons to the 1963 march.
Following the speakers’ statements, protesters marched through DC to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.
A Crisis Faces the US
Under the leadership of Donald Trump, the US is facing a pair of crises. On the one hand, there is widespread civil unrest over police brutality. People have taken to the streets to protest how police treat black people.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are out of work due to COVID-19. This situation has lent a grim severity to the looming November elections.
This comes as the president also alleges, without proof, that mail-in voting is prone to fraud. However, millions of Americans are expected to cast their votes by mail this year due to the pandemic.
Many pundits are worried over Trump’s conduct regarding the election in this context. Numerous times, Trump has claimed that he can’t lose the election unless it is rigged. Many fear this means the president is sowing the seeds of denying any results that don’t show him as the victor in the election.