WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump’s recent comments over the National Football League’s protests about injustice, only added fuel to the flame in the nation’s capital.
Thousands gathered in Lincoln park for the March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women. Both were separate organized rallies, but peacefully protested on the inequality amongst African Americans.
The March for Racial Justice was organized after the acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez, who was a white Minnesota police officer that killed Philando Castile – an African American male. Castile’s mother Valerie, spoke with emotion at the march, and believes there has to be a change in the way African Americans are viewed in today’s society.
“My son was crucified in that car, and I miss him every day,” Castile said in front of supporters. “We have to stay unified, we have to stay in solidarity, and we have to march until we can’t march anymore.”
Supporters marched two miles past the Justice Department, Trump International Hotel, and ended with a rally in front of the United States Capitol. Several chants rattled through the streets of D.C. such as, “no justice, no peace – no racist police.”
“It was empowering,” Jamil Pines Elliot, who travelled from Pennsylvania with some of his peers at Elizabethtown College, said. “It was great to be a part of something so monumental. It felt great to fight.”
Back in September, President Trump criticized players and coaches from the N.F.L. over kneeling for the national anthem. At a rally in Alabama, Trump noted that if fans would “leave the stadium” when players knelt, then it will put a stop to the protest. He also blatantly added that the owners should, “get that son of a b**** off the field.”
“The White House that sits behind us, is a house that was built by slaves,” local D.C. Reverend Grayland Hagler said with emphasis at the rally. “Slavery is the foundation of America. When we haul our black lives matter, it is because historically, black lives have never mattered in this country.”
The weekend of the march was also the anniversary of a three-day massacre in Elaine, Ark., where 100 African American activists were killed after protesting for fairer wages on white-owned plantations in 1919.
“We’ve come here to make a difference,” Activist, Gina Belafonte said. “We know that it’s been quoted that when good people stand by and do nothing, that is when evil happens.”