Aug 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

In photos: Thousands gather at Lincoln Memorial to protest police brutality

"Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" protest against racism and police brutality
"Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" protest against racism and police brutality. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Two generations of Kings spoke at the Lincoln Memorial Friday as part of the March on Washington that honored the 57th anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech.

The big picture: Black people are reeling after a summer that opened with the police killing of George Floyd and is closing with the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed and spent time handcuffed to a hospital bed after being shot seven times in the back.

Rev. Al Sharpton coordinated the event after Floyd's death alongside Martin Luther King III and the National Action Network, called the "Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks."

  • The organization expected tens of thousands of attendees, but many groups from far-away states canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they're saying:

  • Jacob Blake's sister said, "Black America: I hold you accountable. You must stand. You must fight. But not with violence and chaos, with self love."
  • Blake's father Jacob Blake Sr. spoke on the shooting of his son: "We're gonna hold court on systemic racism ... And we're not taking it anymore. I ask everyone to stand up. No justice, no peace!"
  • Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, said: "I'm marching for George, for Breonna, for Ahmaud, for Jacob, for Pamela Turner, for Michael Brown, Trayvon and anybody else who lost their lives."
  • Breonna's Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer also spoke to the crowd, which responded by chanting her daughter's name. Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers on a no-knock warrant in March. No one has been charged in her death.
  • Sharpton: "We will speak against the looting, but when will you speak against wrong police shooting?"

Between the lines: On a D.C. summer Friday with a high of 92 degrees, volunteers were taking temperatures at the entrance, and media reports indicated masks were the norm among the crowd.

The bottom line: King's granddaughter Yolanda Renee King, 12, told a crowd of thousands that they "are the great dreams of our grandparents. ... we will fulfill my grandfather's dream."

  • His son Martin Luther King III, 62, said that "we must never forget the American nightmare. ... We still struggle for justice, demilitarizing the police, dismantling mass incarceration."
Anti-racism protesters marched on the streets of the US capital on Friday, after a white officer's shooting of African American Jacob Blake.
Jacob Blake Sr., father of Jacob Blake, Jr., speaks at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of National Action Network
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of National Action Network. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
A man walks in the Reflecting Pool
A man walks in the Reflecting Pool. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters raise their fists
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Guests gather for the March on Washington
Guests gather for the March on Washington. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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