March on Washington 2020 Repeats Beautiful History

From Instagram user @venturewithv, boldly standing her ground amidst thousands at a Black Lives Matter protest.

From Instagram user @venturewithv, boldly standing her ground amidst thousands at a Black Lives Matter protest.

On August 28, 2020, thousands at the Lincoln Memorial screamed the names of the victims of police brutality with pain and sorrow in their voices. The crowd longs for a world free of racial inequality which they plan to enact through social justice and government.

This march honored the original March on Washington 57 years ago where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech occurred. Organizer and speaker, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, gave the stage to family members of police brutality, including the siblings of George Floyd and the mother of Breonna Taylor as well as MLK’s son and granddaughter.

March attendee Victoria Waller said, “It was surreal to know that in the same exact place my father and mother stood 57 years ago listening to the powerful message from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, here I was listening to his son speak on civil rights, equality, and justice for people of color.”

The various speakers at the Lincoln Memorial rallied the crowd of about 7,000 to be proud of having a brown or black skin color and to advocate so that people of color do not have to constantly fear for their lives. A reoccurring theme in many of the speeches was dismantling the roots of systemic racism that founded America, including police reform and funding low-income students. After about three hours of speeches, the march from the Lincoln Memorial to the MLK Memorial began.

“The march and the protest were both peaceful. Once the march started, there were drums and music playing, and to me, it felt like a joyful parade to celebrate black lives,” said Waller.

Although a big focus was memorializing the innumerable victims of police brutality, the march was more recognition to honor the passion for racial equality their deaths have ignited across both the nation and other countries. The names of the victims include but are not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah Mcclain, and even Jacob Blake, who recently survived an almost fatal attack from a police officer.

“I live and experience being Black every day. Regardless of my degree, my occupation, or who I know, at the end of the day I am still a Black woman.  I can see the injustice within our society, government, policies, and laws, and how it’s designed to favor one group of people over the other,” said Waller.

Everywhere in the world, especially in local communities, it is imperative to amplify the voices of Black people as well as other marginalized groups. In Hacienda Heights, Los Altos High School ASB has taken an initiative to normalize difficult topics through the Instagram account @lahsdiversityinclusion. LAHS Diversity Inclusion spreads helpful infographics about the Black Lives Matter movement, suicide prevention, women’s reproductive health, plus more to come.

The Black Lives Matter movement is not the superiority of dark skin. The Black Lives Matter movement is the fight to gain equality for people of color. The inequality isn’t explicit; it is the microaggressions aimed towards POC, especially the Black community.

Waller said, “Black Lives Matter is important to me because I want the next generation of POCs to grow up in a world that is better, filled with understanding, compassion, empathy, love, acceptance, and value for human life no matter the color of your skin.”