Representative Ayanna Pressley expressed confidence in the ability of the recent racial justice movements to translate into lasting political change as she addressed the 2020 March on Washington on Friday.
Citing progress from those who fought for civil rights in decades past, Pressley told the thousands gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that “another world is possible” thanks to the sacrifices of those who came before them.
“We are in unprecedented, uncertain times. We are challenged by the state of the nation and the crisis we face, but the state of our movement, it is strong, and another world is possible.” Pressley said.
An estimated thousands gathered Friday near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” address, a vision of racial equality that remains elusive for millions of Americans. The event, called the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” comes on the heels of massive protests over violence against Black people at the hands of police this summer. Most recently, Jacob Blake, a Black father of five, was paralyzed after being shot by Kenosha, Wis., police earlier this week.
Hundreds of protesters also gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to demonstrate against President Trump’s Republican National Convention speech at the White House.
It was against that backdrop that Pressley delivered her speech Friday, telling the crowd that political change could be achieved if those fighting for it persevere in their conviction.
“Yes it is possible to legislate justice and accountability, people over profits, joy over trauma, freedom over fear. Yes it is possible to write budgets that actually value Black lives,” she said. “If it feels unfamiliar, that’s because it has never been done in America. We will meet the moment. We will work towards healing, justice, and collective liberation like our lives depend on it. Because they do.”
Following the rally at the Lincoln Memorial, which includes remarks from activists including Martin Luther King III, attendees are scheduled to march to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial near the National Mall.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.