March on Washington: Symbolism and safety
How the organizers plan to keep marchers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - During the funeral for George Floyd, the Reverend Al Sharpton announced, “We going to keep marching. We going to keep protesting. Aug. 28, we going to Washington by the tens of thousands.”
Aug. 28 is symbolic. It’s the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sharpton’s National Action Network and the NAACP are organizing what they call a “recommitment” to King’s dream.
“I think the dream now is to have the opportunity, right?” said Ebonie Riley, National Action Network’s D.C Bureau Chief. “We want to make sure there aren’t any systemic barriers to get in the way of reaching your goals.”
Riley said the march is part of the movement that began after the death of George Floyd.
She tells us that coronavirus protections will be in place as marchers walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
“One of the most important things for us is everyone’s safety,” Riley said.
She said protesters traveling to D.C. will have to pass a number of temperature checks – on the bus and when they arrive. Masks are mandatory, and the National Mall will be divided into grids to allow for social distancing.
Organizers are also asking anyone with a preexisting condition, or from a COVID-19 hot spot, to stay home.
“We don’t encourage anyone to risk their health to be there,” she said.
There will also be a virtual rally throughout the day and an online program of speakers and performances at night.
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