Last Saturday, the People’s Organization for Progress (P.O.P.) completed “The Long March for Justice: For Police Accountability, Social Justice And Economic Progress” arriving at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton after a 67-mile trek through the Garden State.
Launched from Montclair on Oct. 8, the procession marched through 27 towns. The march received heavy support from the mayors of East Orange, Irvington, Hillside, and Highland Park, clergy, activists, 30 organizations, and families who have lost loved ones to police violence.
Among those who participated in the march was Rev. Herbert Daughtry of Brooklyn’s House of the Lord Church. At age 90, Daughtry marched two miles when the group reached New Brunswick.
“I am amazed and appreciative of the people who marched with me,” said P.O.P. Lawrence Hamm. “I really thought that after the first day I’d be marching most of the way by myself. That never happened. I never walked alone. People walked miles without being asked to do so. They had nothing to gain by doing so. It was a totally selfless act on their part.”
Although the march called for a broad range of reforms ranging from police reform to federal voting rights protections to a $15 minimum wage, the group marched to Trenton to put pressure on the state legislature to pass a package of key police reform bills, led by the Civilian Review Board Bill put forward by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight mandating strong civilian review boards for any community who seeks one, failing to make progress in the Statehouse.
The Long March for Justice was inspired by other historic marches like the March Against Fear in Mississippi in 1966 and the march from Selma to Montgomery for Voting Rights in 1965. It is also characteristic of the P.O.P. 381 day protest for Economic Justice that was launched ten years ago and their long standing Justice Monday Protest.
Looking ahead, P.O.P. will participate in the 26th annual National Day of Action Against Police Brutality on Friday, Oct. 22, a day of action that regularly drew from protests in 40 cities around the country before the COVID-19 pandemic.