Washington, Aug 26 (EFE).- Thousands of people gathered in the United States capital on Saturday, calling for an end to racism on the 60th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Even after sixty years, the civil rights movement remains active in the US, marked by frequent incidents of alleged police brutality against African-Americans and conservative attempts to undermine the voting rights of Black people.
The demonstration began on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Luther King gave the speech on Aug.28, 1963, before marching through the US capital.
Leading the gathering was the family of Luther King. Addressing the crowd, his eldest son, Martin Luther King III, expressed deep concern about the US “moving backward instead of forward.”
“We must preserve, protect and expand democracy,” said Martin Luther King III, one of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s four children.
“We must ensure that voting rights is protected for all people. We must ensure that our women and children are treated fairly. We must end gun violence. Then maybe one day we will be a great nation.”
The civil rights organization National Action Network (NAN) organized the protest not merely to “commemorate” the 60th anniversary of the famous march but to pursue Luther King’s dream.
Protesters denounced efforts in various red states to restrict minority voting rights, such as introducing voting by mail obstacles or redrawing electoral maps to reduce the influence of black-majority districts.
They decried white supremacist attacks and police violence against African-Americans, recalling the events following the murder of George Floyd by white police officers three years earlier.
The killing triggered one of the largest racial protests in decades.
The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, led by Luther King (1929-1968), stands a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement.
Drawing of 250,000 people, the march prompted Congress to legally prohibit racial discrimination and remove obstacles to voting for African-Americans.
At 17, Sharon Smith participated in that historic demonstration with classmates. Now 76, she could not miss the 60th anniversary event.
The African-American woman from Kentucky told EFE that the day was incredible as everyone was there for a cause.
“We wanted to see a change in the United States. There have been some changes but not all that we need,” said the woman donning a Luther King T-shirt.
Hamilton Brooks, a 24-year-old African-American from Virginia, highlighted the “very real” threat to democracy.
He pointed out that several states were enacting racist laws to suppress Black voters’ rights.
“Even though the United States is a democracy, that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. Many people are being silenced,” Brooks told EFE.
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the first African-American woman in office, will meet with the Kings on Monday.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today,” King said that day.
Sixty years later, his words continue to stir conscience in the United States and the rest of the world.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was assassinated on Apr.14, 1968, by a white supremacist in Memphis. EFE