After more than six months of planning and promotion, the Million People’s March against police brutality is set to take place this Saturday in Newark N.J.
Announced in January, the march is expected to bring out thousands of people from around the country with the goal of highlighting the need for police reforms and to raise awareness about racial crimes. More than 150 organizations have endorsed and plan to participate in the march.
High school activists from the Newark Students Union will also be among the marchers. The Newark Students Union came together a few years ago as a group of student activists who strongly opposed plans to close and privatize Newark schools through a charter system. They have organized citywide walkouts of high school students.
The march starts at noon at the Lincoln Monument at Springfield Avenue and West Market Street in Newark, across the street from Essex Community College.
Since the announcement of the march at the beginning of the year, the nation has come to grips with the Black church shooting in South Carolina, the suspected police killing of Sandra Bland in a Texas jail and the one-year anniversary of the police killing of Eric Garner, among other incidents.
“So many people are coming from around the country,” said organizer Larry Hamm. “We have people coming from Atlanta, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Washington, D.C.”
The day will consist of four parts, starting with a rally that will feature speeches by family members of those who have been killed by police. Speakers include the mother of Abdul Kamal, an unarmed Black man who was killed by Irvington police in 2013, and the mother of Jerame Reid, who was also armed and killed by police in Bridgeton in 2014.
The march will follow afterward, starting at 1:30 p.m., and then more speeches. The day will close out with a town hall meeting at the Willing Hart Community Center at the Metropolitan Baptist Church.
“Initially this march was called in response to the pandemic of police killings of unarmed people,” Hamm said. “It’s out of control when you look at the raw numbers and this situation has been going on for decades.”
Saturday’s march is dedicated to the nine people lost in the Emanuel AME Church massacre in South Carolina.
Hamm said, “The overall goal of this march is to stimulate continued mass opposition organization and mobilization against police brutality. We see this march as another benchmark in this process. While we will call for reform and other action, we believe that the most potent antidote to police brutality and racial violence is the mass organization and mobilization of people. Social pressure is the fire that ensures the continued implementation of laws.”