Demonstration has a way of responding to the call for help exuded by those who are unable to convene for their own liberty and justice.
We are continuing the efforts of those who granted us the right to vote, the right to understand what equal representation in the workplace looks like, and the right to have integrated public facilities. To those who have given us these rights that were once seen as privileges, we must honor their efforts by continuing them to full fruition. But I think it is okay to recognize when we have not fully reached our goal, and to remind society that “in too many places and in too many ways [the color line is still being drawn].” Some of the declarations made in the Program of the March on Washington Monument could still be protested by us, as they have not been addressed in their entirety. Such as “legislation to enforce the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,” and arguably, “colored and minority group representation on all administrative agencies,” because we are still not given adequate representation when one or two people of our skin color are entrusted with the welfare of our entire race, or socioeconomic status. In this case, the overall goal to allow these groups “recognition of their democratic right to participate in formulating policies,” is not met, as we still have provisions for voting such as the I.D. requirement, or even just a gap between the poor community and their access to a political voice.
I loved the quote from the Why Should We March? section of the Negro March on Washington Movement, wherein Randolph states that “a community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person [in society] can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”
This statement rings with both truth and irony, because America, to my understanding, as the poster child for democracy, has never truly granted this ability to the lowest of society. I think this is the most important thing to note, and the most prominent reason for why we should continue to demonstrate in the name of justice. I’ve heard people say, in an effort to silence me or just in general, that “protest, rallying, or anything that you do won’t bring Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, or Freddie Gray back to life, so why bother?” It is because the murders of these innocent Black lives have “summoned us to mass action that is orderly and lawful, but aggressive and militant, for justice, equality, and freedom.”
Just as we must continue to convene for those who are incarcerated for unjust reasons without proper representation. So, as were those of the Southern Negro Youth Conference, we have been called upon by these instances of injustice to “achieve the full blessings of true democracy for ourselves, our people, and our nation!”
And, this is why we march.