Civil rights leaders, activists and clergy members gathered Aug. 1 inside the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church (Metropolitan) on M Street in northwest Washington, D.C. to discuss a plan of action for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Hosted by the National Action Network, the meeting served as both a briefing on the schedule of events for the August 24 remembrance of the march, and a preliminary discussion on how best to spread word of the march throughout communities nationwide.
Janaye Ingram, D.C. Bureau Chief of the National Action Network, answered questions and provided details about what participants could expect on the day of the march. Marchers will arrive and gather around the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial at 8 a.m. Musical selections, prayers, and speeches will take place at 9 a.m., and the main program will begin at 10 a.m.
The march will begin promptly at 1 p.m. with the procession leading down Independence Avenue and ending at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Following the procession will be a Global Freedom Festival held between 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the National Mall.
“There is still a lot to fight for, focus on and change,” said Ingram. She emphasized the need for volunteers, calling on her audience to recruit members in their communities to fill volunteer positions on the day of the march. “We need volunteers for hospitality, for EMS, for transportation and for public relations. We especially need able-bodied men and women to help maintain order.”
With the march only three weeks away, the challenges now at hand are how best to spread the word about the march. Many communities nationwide still do not know about it.
“The key is collaboration, collaboration, collaboration”, Bob Ross, president of the Prince George’s County branch of the NAACP, told the audience. He encouraged all to pass out flyers, talk to people in their communities and congregations, and to use social media sites to promote the event.
Civil justice supporter and native Washingtonian Phillip Brown, 30, spoke eloquently to audiences about the importance of reaching out to youth and including them in these discussions and events. “The youth out here want to be involved. They want to help but they don’t feel connected. They need guidance and leadership from their elders. We need to not be afraid to talk to them,” Brown said.
A second planning meeting at Metropolitan will be held Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a press conference on the steps of Metropolitan on Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. For more information on the 50th Anniversary for the March on Washington, visit http://nationalactionnetwork.net/mow/.
(Photo: 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Courtesy Photo)