The march was publicly announced in May, and the website is billing this anniversary celebration as “not a commemoration, [but] a continuation” where those who join will “honor the past, acknowledge the present and march toward a future of progress and equality.”
Why are we marching this time around? The goal is to continue the intent of the original 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, fighting the same civil rights and discrimination issues our forefathers advocated for.
Martin Luther King III told The Washington Post, “The vision that Dad had is not one that cannot be achieved,” continuing, “We have made great strides and then there seems to be always an inevitable setback.”
Martin Luther King III is planning to attend alongside his wife Arndrea Waters King and civil rights leader as well as the president of the National Action Network, Rev. Al Sharpton.
Per a National Park Service permit application, organizers anticipate more than 50,000 participants. The schedule is currently slated for a program from 8:00am – 1:00pm EST with a march immediately following from 1:00 – 3:00pm EST.
Arndrea Waters King hopes that this anniversary will mark the start of an “activation of realizing the dream and an activation of democracy.”
Following the Supreme Court decisions that eliminated affirmative action and overturned Roe v. Wade, the Kings “are troubled by what they see as an erosion of democracy in the United States.”
At the march, they are planning to call upon Congress “to pass federal voting rights legislation,” an issue they have long been seeking in earnest after the Supreme Court gutted a crucial piece of the 1965 Voting Rights Act with a 2013 decision.
Arndrea Waters King is extremely concerned, saying “we’re seeing oppression being legislated,” adding ““I think everyone’s looking at all of this and in a lot of ways thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’…Our daughter, who is Martin Luther King Jr.’s only granddaughter, and her peers have progressively lost rights since the day that they were born.”
Sharpton has acknowledged the progress we have made including how Blacks, Latinx, and LGBTQ people have been able to gain access to positions of power, but he remains troubled. “We must translate that energy into legislation and not let right-wing forces push us back into days that remind us of pre-1963” he stated. “We are seeing shadows of the past that have turned from shadows to actual incidents.”
Ultimately, the goal of the 60th anniversary is to inspire the next generation of attendees to become community organizers and collectively improve our democracy. As Martin Luther King III said, “It is our goal to really have America show up,” continuing, “This is not about issues for one group or one ethnic group. It’s about Americans. It’s about creating a climate for America to fulfill its true promise for all of its citizens.”