Forty-seven years after thousands of people converged on the Washington Mall to stand together to protest the inhumane challenges blacks in America faced in 1963, organizers of the “Reclaim the Dream” march are looking to ignite change again on Saturday, Aug. 28 with another mass gathering in Washington.
“In 1963, they had a dream, and they did something about it,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network. “At the time they came to Washington, they were sitting at the back of the bus. They couldn’t go to the restaurants, and they didn’t have equal voting rights. But that changed.”
“We have issues facing this generation – high unemployment in the black community, a 50 percent high school drop-out rate and a lot more. What are we going to do about it?” Sharpton said in a Saturday interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com.
The New York-based National Action Network is organizing the march, which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dunbar High School at 1301 Jersey Avenue, Northwest. It will conclude at the building site of the Martin Luther King Memorial.
Several other organizations and individuals are working with NAN, including Martin Luther King III, president of the Center for Nonviolent Center for Social Change; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP; Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; Ed Schultz, television and radio show host; Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Tom Joyner of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show are all slated to participate in the rally.
NAN is borrowing a page from the first March on Washington, setting up a national network to bring thousands to the capital this weekend. In some places, such as Shreveport, Louisiana and Selma, Alabama, people are set to board buses on Friday for the trip.