Today, on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the Virtual March on Washington (The Commitment March) is taking place. The historic event comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement continues to bring attention to horrific, systemic racism against Black people and BIPOC communities. The anniversary is both poignant and more relevant than ever before. Amidst this global reckoning, and responses to continued police violence, the March is recommitting to King's words. The Commitment March "is about asking everyone—from protesters in the streets to elected officials at all levels of government—to commit to pursuing a new agenda that prioritizes equity, justice, and equal opportunity for all," according to Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of NAACP. "As we approach the November elections, we must mobilize to vote like we’ve never done before.” If you're not able to travel right now or attend in person—which is understandable given the continued coronavirus pandemic—there are more ways than ever to participate virtually. The march is going on as we speak, so action starts right now.
You can watch the march live.
The website for the march, 2020march.com, has a schedule of events (technically the events kicked off last night). The march started today at 11 a.m. EST and will feature speeches by Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, who is leading the march along with families of Black people who have been victims of police brutality. Yesterday we heard from Senator Cory Booker, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Stacey Abrams. Tonight will be a night of virtual programming, including Bebe Winans and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.
You can get text updates about what's going on:
And you can watch a livestream here:
The march is also being covered by news outlets.
According to the announcement, "The NAACP will also execute a robust civic engagement effort with multiple levers of change, including registering participants to vote and encouraging them to participate in the Census." Be sure to check out the NAACP website to take part in that. And, it might go without saying, but another way to participate indirectly is by registering to vote and voting.
You can follow the hashtag #MOW2020.
You can also follow other organizations that will be participating, including the the NAACP, Sharpton's civil rights group National Action Network (NAN), the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), the National Urban League, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Some will also have their own hashtags, like #NANMOW2020, so you can follow those, too, along with their social accounts. On Twitter, some are using #MarchonWashington and #MarchonWashington2020.
According to a spokesperson, NAN will also host a YouTube livestream of the march and will upload new content including:
- Within YouTube Music, there's a shelf presenting their newly rebranded program playlist, "Freedom Songs:" anthems of joy, protest, and hope featuring artists such as Beyoncé, Marvin Gaye, and Prince.
- A collection of critical moments from the Great March on Washington 57 years ago, in the playlist The History of the March on Washington.
- Starting Tuesday, Creator interviews will begin posting on the homepage and on social using #MarchOn.
There might be an event closer to you.
Some events are going on as we speak (slash read), but there may still be events happening this evening, depending on where you live. NAN said that they were planning on working with local chapters to host commemorations of the march, including in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas. Spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said that sister marches will take place in Columbia, SC, Birmingham, AL, Miami, FL, and Milwaukee, WI.
It's still important to know about in-person march protocols.
In case you are thinking about attending in person, there are some important tips that you can read about here, including coronavirus protocol, counterprotesters, and how to interact with law enforcement. This will also be relevant if you have friends and family attending in person so that you can stay in touch with them.