The Albina Ministerial Alliance, along with community partners such as the Urban League of Portland, the NAACP of Portland, the ACLU of Portland, and others are planning a march and rally to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, to be held on Saturday, August 24th at South Waterfront Park. Timed to coincide with the national event in Washington, DC, activists from around the Portland region will gather in solidarity and support of the ongoing civil rights movement.
While the anniversary is historic in itself, the rally will also focus on the recent setbacks in terms of civil rights, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, a cornerstone of modern civil rights law. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking recently at the National Urban League Conference, found the ruling “disappointing and deeply flawed” but stressed that the decision is not a defeat, but “a historic opportunity” to strengthen civil rights law. Demonstrators will seize this opportunity to organize in support of stronger protections under the law. Other events, including the recent verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, highlight a failure on the part of our legal system to address systematic injustices and unequal protections under the law.
In Portland, where unemployment for African Americans is often double the rate of the majority population, and where a 2012 federal inquiry found that Police Bureau engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, the issues that compelled the 1963 March of Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including lack economic opportunity and police brutality, are still the pressing issues of today. The commemorative march will begin at 10am on August 24th, at Terry Schrunk Plaza and will march to South Waterfront Park, where the rally, speakers, and music will begin at 1pm.
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