MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A hot day was sparked with heated and passionate words as the Florida Memorial University community joined groups across the nation to fight for social justice.
As thousands gathered Friday near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” address 57 year’s ago, FMU’s “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” drive-in rally was about action.
“With the recent events of Jacob Blake, we must stay on the front lines,” said one speaker.
Turnout in Washington was expected be lighter than initially intended due to city-imposed coronavirus pandemic restrictions that limit out-of-state visitors to the nation’s capital, according to the Associated Press. The National Action Network organized a handful of satellite events in Florida, South Carolina, and Nevada, among others.
Impassioned speeches at FMU were delivered from the regional leadership of the National Action Network and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
The event included a livestream of the national event from Washington with attendees showing solidarity from a safe distance inside their vehicles. “It allows us to have an experiential opportunity to teach our students about civic responsibility and the importance of voting and speaking up regarding so many of the injustices that are occurring in our nation,” said Jaffus Hardrick, president of Florida Memorial University.
Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, in attendance, said: “The idea that people need to feel safe to walk up and down the streets of America, That’s real. This isn’t going to be a Black problem, it isn’t gonna be a young problem or an old problem. this is gonna be an American problem. This is gonna be a human problem.”
After the pomp and speeches were over, attendees stayed in their cars watching on a large screen the event from the National Mall, where the first March on Washington happened in 1963.