With the remembrance of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” more than 1,000 religious leaders marched today, 54 years later, in Washington for civil rights and against the government of Donald Trump.
Next to the imposing monument to Luther King, in the esplanade of the National Mall, they remembered that the justice for which the reverendo fought is far from having been obtained and alerted of the gravity of the present moment.
“We are here so that the country will know that we will not tolerate racism,” said one of the speakers, between loud applause.
With that vocation, religious from all over the country and different confessions joined in the “March of the Thousand Ministers for Justice”, organized by the civil rights NGO National Action Network.
Its president, the influential Rev. Al Sharpton, said before the march that the Aug. 12 racist violence in Charlottesville had given “new meaning” this year to the anniversary of Luther King’s “March on Washington.”
“Charlottesville gave him a new energy, many ministers called out that this is the time to make a moral statement.” President (Trump) called for unity, and we are going to show unity. he claimed.
Today’s demonstration of strength of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, as well as the president’s response was very present.
In that university city, after hours of racist exhibition, a neo-Nazi demonstrator coiled with his vehicle a counter-protest, killing a young woman and wounding 19 people.
The country expected an unequivocal condemnation of its president to the supremacist groups, but what Trump said was that there was “violence and hatred” (that day did not even speak of racism) in “many sides.”
“It broke my heart to see what happened in Charlottesville, but it did not surprise me, because we have a president who promotes hatred,” Efe Sam, pastor of the Washington Metropolitan Community Church, told Efe.
“Today is very important to be in this protest. It is creating an uncivilized climate, in which these groups feel emboldened and hatred blossoms,” he added.
Then he asked his partner, “Can I call you a racist?” And, to his statement said, “yes, the president is a racist.”
In the official announcement of the march it was clear that the protest not only wants to keep alive the struggle of Luther King but makes it at a time, for many, a setback in civil rights.
“The Justice Department and the current administration are undermining Dr. King’s dream. We marched to reaffirm that religious and community leaders will once again commit ourselves to leading social justice and civil rights,” the manifesto reads.
The recent images of the supremacist exhibition in Charlottesville were the most talked about on the march, especially among those who have lived long enough to think that these groups had stayed in the past.
“These people have not gone that way in years, but with this president they think ‘now we can do whatever we want,'” said Diane Dixon-Froctor, Reverend at a Methodist church in the capital.
“We see Trump’s racism against everyone, it’s not about whites and blacks, it’s about all those who do not look like him, we’re more at risk now,” he added.
“It’s about doing the right thing morally, that’s what you have to do,” said Pastor Christopher Griffin, who arrived from Chicago.
It coincided with him Juanita Williams, a pensioner who traveled with his parish from Philadelphia.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he says, shaking his head. “Suddenly, it hits you and you think, what does the United States mean?