Thousands Plan to Gather in D.C. for 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington

An estimated 50,000 people are expected to gather in Washington, D.C. this Friday for the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Commitment March” to commemorate the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and to protest ongoing police brutality against Black people in the U.S., reports USA Today.

Rev. Al Sharpton first announced the march at the funeral of George Floyd, a Black man killed by police in Minneapolis in May. Since Floyd’s death, scores of

Rev. Al SharptonRev. Al Sharpton

protests have continued throughout the nation, with a new outburst erupting in Kenosha, Wisconsin this week. There, a police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back several times, severely injuring him in front of his children. He is now reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.

In addition to Floyd and Blake, justice for countless of other victims will be fought for during Friday’s march, with the families of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner and George Floyd planning to speak at the event. Martin Luther King III and civil rights attorney Ben Crump also plan to speak.

And Sharpton, too, will address the crowd and advocate for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would end certain police practices, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would address the racial discrimination of voters. According to USA Today, the U.S. House has passed both bills, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t bring them up for a vote.

Roughly 50,000 are expected to attend the march, in contrast to the 250,000 people who showed up to the historic 1963 march. Sharpton, and his civil rights group, National Action Network (NAN) initially planned for 100,000 people to attend, but the COVID-19 pandemic will likely produce a smaller crowd. For those who do attend, NAN will enforce “strict rules,” such as requiring participants to wear masks and encouraging social distancing. It will also provide thermometer stations, hand sanitizer and restricted access to buses from states or cities that are COVID-19 hot spots.