Thousands of African-Americans gathered in Washington Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the “Million Man March,” making renewed demands for justice reform and greater civil rights.
The demonstration on the National Mall — the grassy, mile-long promenade between the US Capitol building and the Washington Monument — follows a series of high-profile incidents of police violence in involving black Americans over the past year.
The anniversary event gathered people from across the United States hoping to push elected officials to do more to combat social and economic inequalities, as well as violence that disproportionately affects communities of color.
Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, organized both the original 1995 march and this year’s “Justice or Else” gathering.
The scope of Saturday’s gathering however, unlike the march 20 years ago, included a call for justice for a range of ethnic and overlooked groups.
The participants also broadened this time around, from the largely black, male crowd in 1995 to include entire families and people of other races.
“If we are denied what is rightfully due to us, then there has to be unified action that we take that will force the justice that we seek,” Farrakhan told the crowd, which looked to be in the tens of thousands, from a podium near the steps of the US Capitol building Saturday.
“There must come a time when we say, enough is enough. It must change, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring about that change.”
His message found resonance with speakers and many protesters at the rally, who invoked recent acts of alleged excessive use of police force, including some that proved deadly.
“Twenty years ago, the death of Tamir Rice would have fallen on deaf ears, left for the police to write a false report, and not broadcast for the world to know,” Tamika Mallory, one of the organizers, said, referring to the police shooting last year of a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio.
She also recalled the now infamous deaths at police hands of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York, which inspired the “Black Lives Matter” movement, whose slogan was omnipresent on the Mall Saturday.
Beyond the growing media attention and accountability, though, there are mixed signs of progress over the two decades since the original march.
The unemployment rate for black men in the US has remained around 8 percent since 1995, twice that of white men.
The rate at which African-Americans are arrested has declined slightly, but they remain six times more likely than whites to be detained and often face harsher sentences for comparable crimes, according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Barack Obama attended the original Million Man March, prior to being elected America’s first black president, but the US leader was in California on Saturday.
‘Veto the Cheato’: Americans gathered nationwide for #ImpeachTrump rallies
Frustrated Americans on Saturday attended #ImpeachTrump rallies from coast-to-coast.
The rallies were organized by MoveOn, Indivisible, Democracy for America, the Women's March, Credo and other progressive organizations.
Over 140 events were held nationwide.
[caption id="attachment_1513038" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Map of #ImpeachTrump rallies in the contiguous United States.[/caption]
Many attendees took the time to create hand-made protest signs, while others held printed banners.
‘Weakness doesn’t win elections’: Indivisible co-founder explains why members are holding #ImpeachTrump rallies
The growing support to commence impeachment proceedings by House Democrats is driven by their need to fire up grassroots support to hold control of the chamber, an Indivisible co-founder explained on MSNBC.
"The call for impeachment continues. this as protesters are hitting the street in more than 140 rallies planned across the country. Organizers say the "Impeach Trump" event is a day of action urging House Democrats to start impeachment proceedings," MSNBC's Richard Lui reported Saturday.
"A new survey from the indivisible project finds 80 percent of their respondents say the House should start impeachment proceedings," he noted. "Right now in the House, 63 Democrats and one Republican support impeachment."
Mississippi fast food cashier ‘terminated immediately’ for ugly racist slur on customer’s receipt
The owner of a fast food restaurant in Mississippi "terminated immediately" an employee after a racist and misogynistic slur of patrons.
When Lex Washington visited Who Dat's Drive-Thru in Oxford with her roommate, the cashier listed them on the receipt as "black b*tches in a silver car."
A manager reportedly refused to apologize at the time, and instead "laughed in her face."
A photo of the receipt then spread on social media.