Following is an report from Reuters on the Reedeem the Dream march and rally against police brutality and racial profiling Saturday in DC- organizers said 100,000 participated - Reuters says "tens of thousands" attended. On CSPAN it was clear to see that the crowd was absolutely huge, and over three quarters Black.
The Reuters report leaves out lots of very striking moments- an address by Abner Louima, by the parents of Amadou Diallo- whose mother is clearly becoming more and more opposed to the system - and, significantly, especially for a march organized by the Black bourgeosie, a five minute taped address by Mumia Abu Jamal.
However many thousands or millions watched the live coverage on CSPAN heard some telling exposure of police brutality, mass incarceration, police murder, and racial profiling.
Listen- this is potentially huge- and it is significant that the churches and the traditional civil rights sectors of the African American community are taking up this battle. Its up to us to take it higher, to merge with ever greater determination the struggles around issues like globalization with the struggles of the people on the bottom.
Times are changing, and it doesn't matter all that much for the moment if the media ignores it. WE need to grasp that this summer there was Philly, LA, and now this march in DC. We need to grasp the implications of it, to take a deep look at the faultline issues and begin to go there directly in our work.
History doesn't, per se, repeat itself, and we are in a new stage of history and in the development of imperialism. But in these emerging movements there is some small parallel worth looking at between the Civil Rights and Black Power movements on one hand and the Free Speech/ Anti-war movement on the other- back in the day--- and the rapidly growing movement to free Mumia/Stop Police Brutality/ Mass Incarceration and the Death Penalty and the post Seattle movement today.
We saw many of the same elements coming into play together here in LA during the DNC and in Philly as well. In LA there was the Mumia march, the August 16th actions around police brutality, mass incarceration, and to free political prisoners. On the 17th there was a joint march for immigrant's rights and against globalization. Other activities also had a marked multi-cultural charactar.
There is reason for hope in the power and determination of the people, who will always, in the end, rise up against oppression.
WASHINGTON (Aug. 26) - Martin Luther King III, invoking the spirit of his father during a rally to commemorate the civil rights leader's most famous speech, called on President Clinton on Saturday to end the police practice of racial profiling.
Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial close to where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic ''I Have a Dream'' speech 37 years ago, King joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in challenging Clinton to issue an executive order banning police from stopping and questioning people on the basis of race.
''I say to America, that if you understand what consciousness is and if you understand the wrongness of racial profiling and police brutality you must do the right thing,'' King said during the ''Redeem the Dream'' rally.
''Sometimes we must take positions because they are neither safe, nor popular, nor comfortable. But we must take those positions because our conscience tells us they are right,'' King said, harking back to the memory of his father.
Sharpton called on Clinton, whose term as president ends in January, to use the time he has remaining in office to stop the practice.
''We want an executive order that bars federal funds from any local or state law enforcement agency that has a pattern of police brutality or racial profiling,'' Sharpton said.
The vocal New York activist extended his call to the candidates seeking to win the November national election, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Al Gore.
''Both of you are running for president, but you can't run from us. If you want us (to vote for you), you have to come to us and address our concerns,'' Sharpton said.
The ''Redeem the Dream'' rally, which drew tens of thousands of people, was designed to add pressure on elected officials to reach out to minorities and renew Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of equality and justice.
''To those who occupy the seats of government and the chambers of power, I say my father stood trying to redeem the souls of America and I challenge you to assure that he did not stand or die in vain,'' King said.
He reminded the crowd of his father's dream that one day his children would live in a nation where they would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
''But as one of those four little children,'' King said, ''I must remind you that that one day, clearly and sadly, is not today.''
Minorities in the United States still faced obstacles at banks, in employment lines and in the courtrooms, he said.