Thousands March on Washington to Demand an End to Police Brutality and Racism

Susan Walsh/AP

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On the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—and five days after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake four times in the back—thousands of people converged on the National Mall to demand police reform, voting rights expansion, and racial equality.

Mother Jones’ Matt Cohen is reporting live from the march, formally titled “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” Follow along below for updates.

Yolanda Renee King, the 12-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, issued a poignant call to combat police brutality, climate change, and poverty. “My generation has already taken to the streets—peacefully and with masks, and socially distanced—to protest racism,” she said. “I want to ask the young people here to join me in pledging that we have only just begun to fight, and that we will be the generation that moves from ‘me’ to ‘we.’”

Martin Luther King III drew a parallel between Jim Crow–era voter suppression and President Trump’s attempts to sabotage the United States Postal Service amid a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black communities and made it dangerous to cast ballots in person. “We shouldn’t have to risk our lives to cast our votes,” he said. “We need to be able to do what President Trump does: vote safely by mail.”

Fifty-seven years after his father’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King called attention to continued police killings of Black Americans like George Floyd and Elijah McClain. “There’s a knee upon the neck of democracy,” he said, “and our nation can only live so long without the oxygen of freedom.”

Philonise Floyd, still mourning the loss of his brother George, issued an emotional tribute to victims of police violence. “Right now, Jacob Blake—it’s hard just to talk right now—shot seven times, man, with his kids,” he said through tears. “That’s painful.”

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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