2020 March on Washington: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks

Advocates and allies came together in Washington to march for civil rights that Black Americans are STILL being denied.

On August 28th, 1963, demonstrators took to the streets to march for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. It was during this march to Washington that Martin Luther King Jr. made his historically famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

Again on August 28, 2020, both advocates and allies came together in Washington to march for civil rights that Black Americans are STILL being denied.

The National Action Network (N.A.N), one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation, organized the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March on Washington in support of racial justice. This aligns with its mission to promote a modern civil rights agenda. N.A.N fights for one standard of justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality.

Its founder Reverend Al Sharpton along with Martin Luther King Jr. III, Attorney Benjamin Crump, and families of police brutality victims joined labor leaders, clergy, activists, and civil rights advocates to lead the march. They stood in solidarity for criminal justice reform and fighting for those who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police.

Passion raised in the early hours of Friday morning as protestors prepared to demonstrate on the heels of The May George Floyd Killing. Anti-racism protesters marched on the streets of the US capital, as organizers began setting up for the event and speakers at the National Mall. Protesters and activists then gathered at Lincoln Circle to hear the day’s programming before heading to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Speakers included the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and others to address the senseless loss of Black lives at the hands of the police and advocate for issues including police accountability, criminal justice reform, voter protection, and more.

“We are not going to take it. Some have different tactics, but we all are rising up. We will get your knee off our neck. Enough is enough. Enough is enough. Enough is enough.”

Al Sharpton declared in his ending speech before marching to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Amongst a diverse crowd of people from Generation X to Millennials speeches were given that inspired older generations who spent decades protesting for civil rights and younger generations of activists who were taking up the fight for racial justice. Together they united as a solid front to pressure Congress on passing the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act. The Act that would limit police and aim to curb racially-biased misconduct.

On the 29th, younger generations stood out to make their demands known during the "March of the Generations." This was organized by The Live Movement started by Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) students and alumni. They marched for: the support of economically disadvantaged students through a Title IV (Pell Grant) increase; support for historically black colleges & universities via endowments funded by private-sector corporations, earmarked for scholarship use only; and to build the high-school to HBCU pipeline by incorporating Afro-American studies courses into the public school curriculum. To sum it up - They aim to make HBCU's more accessible to Black students.

The Commitment March and the March of Generations allowed African Americans and allies to come together and commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech; while also advocating for civil rights that are still being denied 57 years later. In those marches, African Americans are declaring no more, that "enough is enough." They are no longer accepting this second-class citizen treatment that they have been enduring since the start of America. Together they stand and together they will fight, protest, donate, and lobby until they get justice and equal rights in all aspects of society for all Black Americans. "Get your knee off of our neck!"

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