Aug 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

American dreams and nightmares

A man stands in the Reflecting Pool during the March on Washington. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Two generations of Kings spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on 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.

  • Jacob Blake Sr. spoke on the shooting of his son: "We're gonna hold court on systematic 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 Brianna, for Ahmaud, for Jacob, for Pamela Turner, for Michael Brown, Trayvon and anybody else who lost their lives."
  • Breonna 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.

Between the lines: On a D.C. summer Friday with a high of 92 degrees, volunteers were taking temperatures at the entrance, and the 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."
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