- Al Sharpton’s March on Washington 2020 is set to attract thousands of participants to the nation’s capital. Here is a rundown of everything you need to know.
As Black Lives Matter protests in Portland and Chicago continue to draw attention, civil rights leaders marched in the nation’s capital. In early June, Rev. Al Sharpton announced that his civil rights organization, the National Action Network (NAN) hosted a March on Washington on August 28, 2020, commemorating the 57th anniversary of the original 1963 March on Washington when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream Speech.” In addition to marking this historic anniversary, the upcoming march seeks to address police brutality and racial injustice in light of the wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.
Details about the march can be found below.
NAN has titled the event, “Commitment March: Get off our Necks,” in reference to George Floyd’s death after police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Sharpton and other civil rights leaders have called participants to join the Commitment March to promote solidarity with the Black community and key policing and social justice reforms.
According to its official website, the march aims to “demonstrate our advocacy for comprehensive police accountability reform, the Census, and mobilizing voters for the November elections.”
An early permit application estimated that the march would have 100,000 participants, 1,000 buses from different areas, as well as jumbotrons, lighting equipment, and at least 10 tents near or on the National Mall, according to DCist. 40,000 people have already registered for the event, NAN’s D.C. Bureau Chief Ebonie Riley reported to DCist, which has led to increased bookings at nearby hotels.
While the event’s official speakers have yet to be confirmed, a July press release revealed that family members of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner would likely be in the lineup. Martin Luther King Jr. III, the civil rights leader’s oldest child, will be co-chairing the event. Many civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP and the Legal Defense Fund, have also partnered with NAN to support the march.
Many groups across the country have expressed interest in attending the march. On August 4, a group of Milwaukee protesters set off on a 750-mile march from their hometown to Washington DC, aiming to walk 20 miles a day to reach the nation’s capital in time for the Commitment March.
What about COVID-19?
At a July 31 press briefing, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser advised any march participants attending from out of state to follow the district’s most recent travel order. According to the order, any traveler entering DC from a list of 27 “high-risk” states for non-essential purposes is required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Protestors arriving from any of the 27 listed states are advised to arrive in the city two weeks early and quarantine.
The march’s official website states that the event “will comply with applicable federal and local requirements for physical distancing and protective equipment like face masks. Marchers will be required to wear masks to participate in the march. Free surgical masks will be provided on-site.”
The official website for the Commitment March contains many details about how to register, become a march volunteer, corporate sponsor, or donor. There are also details about bus transportation and available hotels for out-of-town participants.
To raise awareness of the event, please use the official hashtag #NANMOW2020 on social media.
Can I participate in my local area?
Not able to visit DC? No problem. The NAACP hosted a “virtual march” alongside the in-person event, starting with broadcasted musical performances and appearance by activists the night of August 27 from 8-10 pm ET. The August 28 daytime march will be live-streamed across social media platforms and television networks, followed by a keynote address and additional musical performances from 9-11 pm ET that evening.
Next week, I will be addressing how people can use technology to raise awareness of and virtually participate in protests around the country.