As we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I am reminded of Dr. King's vision of "Creatively pursuing the paths of glory."
In that spirit, the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is partnering with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, NAACP Northeast Region, New York Urban League, One Million People United for Change and The Roosevelt Institute to host the Virtual March on Washington on Saturday, August 24.
The Virtual March represents our commitment to Dr. King's vision by using the resources afforded through technology to enhance access for people all over the world to take part in the historic 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Along with covering the events on the National Mall, Million Hoodies' Virtual March will feature its own guest speakers, expert panels, celebrities and musical performances.
Million Hoodies will also use this historic weekend to honor Trayvon Martin by asking supporters to share a photo while wearing a hoodie using the #HoodiesUp hashtag on Sunday, August 25 at 7:16:56 PM EDT -- the exact time of Trayvon's death.
I created the #MillionHoodies Movement in 2012 in response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The group turned out over 50,000 supporters in a dozen cities across the county, including thousands in NYC who joined Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, to march on Union Square. This effort helped to collect over two million petition signatures on Change.org -- which was to call for a criminal investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.. The Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is now a national non-profit, working to elevate the profile of victims of senseless gun violence and their families and to lower the barrier of entry for civic engagement through social media, creative technology, grassroots organizing and sheer hard work.
Our work recognizes that the conditions that caused the death of Trayvon Martin and many others like him are deeply embedded in institutional injustice and structural violence. While accountability in individual cases is important, we must attack the institutional discrimination and core inequalities in our society if we are to put a stop to the senseless deaths and systemic violence inflicted on people of color every day.
We are fortunate to have leaders in Washington that recognize the effects of this discrimination. Million Hoodies stands with Sen. Cardin and Rep. Conyers and urges members of Congress to come together to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. By eliminating institutional prejudice and prohibiting the use of racial profiling by law enforcement, we can change the way race and religion are perceived in this nation - taking a step toward preventing the deaths of others like Trayvon.
At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, are we a nation that accepts institutional discrimination, mass gun violence and the murder of innocent children as a way of life, or not?
Get up-to-date information on the Virtual March on Washington by following @MillionHoodies and @danielmaree on Twitter, using the #HoodiesUp hashtag and visiting facebook.com/MillionHoodies.