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Marches on racial justice set to unify on National Mall

Katishi Maake, CNN | 10/2/2017, 10:41 a.m.
Two marches will take place in the nation's capital Saturday in the name of racial and gender inequality.
March for Black Women Facebook

(CNN) -- Two marches will take place in the nation's capital Saturday in the name of racial and gender inequality.

The March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women will start out separately in the morning before joining to converge on the National Mall.

The March for Racial Justice, which organizers say they're holding to combat racism, white supremacy, sexism and other forms of bigotry and oppression, chose September 30 to mark the 98th anniversary of the Elaine Massacre, in which more than 100 African Americans, mostly sharecroppers, from Elaine, Arkansas, were murdered by mobs after demanding better pay from white plantation owners.

"We want to bring awareness to the country, specifically white America," said Dorcas Davis, co-founder of the march. "In the US, things are still very segregated. They may not know other Americans are being affected and their rights are not being upheld."

The March for Black Women is one of more than a dozen other marches and town halls the organizers say they are holding across the country to highlight problems with sexualized violence and the widespread incarceration of black women and girls.

The organizers also take issue with recent efforts by Republicans in Congress to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which they say undermines and threatens women's reproductive health.

"We want a brand of racial justice deployed, centering the trauma and complexity of all black women's lived experiences of atrocity across generations," a statement on the group's website read.

Dorcas said the two marches' efforts have been entirely collaborative, and the March for Black Women is important for highlighting specific issues facing African-American females.

"There is no racial justice without gender justice," Davis said, referencing what she said was organizer Farah Tanis' motto for the March for Black Women. "There was a need to create space for black women" ​

The March for Racial Justice will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Lincoln Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Its participants will be joined by the March for Black Women, which starts at 8 a.m. at Seward Square at the intersection of Pennsylvania and North Carolina Avenues SE. Both groups will then march together toward the Capitol, culminating on the National Mall.