Thousands of Blacks gathered in Washington, D.C. to send a message to President-elect Donald Trump by marching, a week before his inauguration, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and to peaceably reject the incoming presidential administration.
Thousands gathered in D.C. Jan. 14 to pay homage to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to vocalize displeasure with the impending administration. (Photo by Rob Roberts)
The National Action Network (NAN) led a coalition of civil rights groups and their followers to join forces for the “We Shall Not Be Moved” march on Jan. 14. The march was held to remind Trump and Congress that the fight for civil rights will not rest, to demand accountability from Trump and Congress and to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We want this nation to understand that what has been fought for and gained that you’re going to need more than one election to turn it around,” the Rev. Al Sharpton told marchers.
Diane White made her way to the march from Philadelphia to continue the fight from her generation and in honor of her deceased husband who attended the Million Man March.
“We have to come together,” White told the AFRO, “and the way that they did it in the 60s was by organizing, by standing up marching, they didn’t go through violence.”
One thing White wanted millennials to understand is that violence will not help Black people move forward. “ is really about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other heroes and sheroes that have struggled and fought for us to have the opportunities that we have today,” said Sen. Nina Turner (D – Ohio). “All of the Violence that African Americans have had to endure over the last two to five years is intense, it’s happening in our cities and we have to do something about it.”
The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Peace Walk took on an additional level of political and social importance, Jan. 16, with the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Activists, organizers and attendees voiced concerns over how best to court peace and conflict resolution when entering a new political landscape that often appears hostile, fragmented, and anything but peaceful.
“Young people in this nation learn from what they are shown, not what you tell them,” Ward 6 resident McKinley Clark told the AFRO. “Coming off a particularly nasty and divisive election, we want our kids to know that those tenets of peace and helping our fellow man that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified still have value today.”
The initial parade was started in 1972 by community activists Calvin and Wilhelmina Rolark and Keith Silver. Silver still spearheads the annual procession with the assistance of Calvin Rolark’s daughter, Denise Rolark Barnes. The parade was part of a national strategy, at that time, to urge U.S. Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan (R) signed legislation designating the third Monday in January as King’s holiday.
“We have got to stop talking about what Trump or the nation is doing or not doing for us and do it for ourselves. We don’t want handouts, but we do expect a level playing field,” Clark told the AFRO. “My goal is to teach my grandsons the difference between the hard work you put in paying dues, and the institutionalized racism that may be keeping that hard work from yielding fruit long after dues have been paid.”