The Ministers’ March on Washington marked the 54th anniversary of the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, "I Have a Dream,” which was a call to end racism in the United States of America and a call for jobs and economic rights. This march in 2017, punctuated this era as a time that, “things are the same,” that we are still fighting for jobs, freedom, economic rights, health care and the ‘right to vote.’
Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network (NAN), called for 1,000 ministers to march on Washington for justice, and stated, “This opposition to the new administration is not about politics, but the moral corrosion of the country that has become increasingly evident under President Trump.” We were called to commemorate, remember and continue making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream a reality.
Over 3,000 attendees, religious leaders from all over the United States of America, marched from the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument to the Department of Justice. My heart rejoiced to see the assembly of people! There were as many white folk as there were black folk at the march. In attendance were gays, straight, same gender loving, leaders from Islam, Judaism, Christianity; a rainbow of clergy, some in vestment, clerical collars, some wore kippahs and taqiyahs; some even wore t-shirts and jeans. Speeches were delivered by Imams, Rabbis, Christian leaders and leaders in the gay community. All had gathered with one hope and one call for justice and for justice now!
One sign that struck me was held by a little white boy no more than five years old that read, “Hate stinks worst than monkeys’ doo-doo.” His mom made him scratch out ‘monkey’ but the sentence did not lose its meaning. As an organization of clergy of all walks of life, my dream is that we too will claim as a mantra, “Hate stinks!”
As an African American woman who participated in civil rights gathering in the 1960’s, it is a travesty that we have a president bent on erasing and eradicating every thing that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, marched and died for. The president talks about making America great again, when America belonged to the Cherokee Indians, not white supremacists, however, the healing of this nation has to begin with those of us who claim an allegiance with God and believes that God calls us into this ministry. The pulpit is a safe place, but the problems are on the streets, in communities where violence seems the order of the day. This march helped to refocus us and it energized us to work together to make a difference. There were ministers from all over the United States, united in one cause: Justice!
“We want justice, when do we want it, we want it now!” was the chant throughout the day!