The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW NAACP chapter marches on Washington for 60th anniversary of M.L.K. Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

3 min read
A woman holding a sign, a man holding a microphone, and a child holding the woman's hand while standing on the National Mall

Attendees gather on National Mall | Photo Courtesy of Kaylah Lightfoot


Staff Writer

On Saturday, Aug. 26, members of the NAACP chapter at UMW traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. Despite it being UMW’s move-in day, many club leaders and members joined thousands of others to gather around the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate and reflect upon the 60 years that have passed since the original address was given in 1963.

“The general atmosphere was one of revival—it was hundreds of groups bringing positive, nationwide energy and hope,” said junior Kaylah Lightfoot, a political science major and secretary of NAACP at UMW.
According to the NAACP, who organized the event, the march was intended to be an extension of the original speech. Tens of thousands of people gathered for the march that featured a diverse, high-profile group of speakers that included many women, which was a stark contrast to the original march where only one woman spoke.

An official statement on the NAACP website said, “Our march will be a continuation, not commemoration, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s work, the event will bring together global civil rights leaders and partner organizations from across the country to evaluate the progress made to achieve Dr. King’s dream while continuing to highlight the work still needed to bring about peace, justice, and equity in the world.”
At the march, a variety of individuals spoke on topics that reflected their numerous experiences and opinions that fell in line with Dr. King’s speech. House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) advocated for federal voting protections, David Hogg, a Parkland school shooting survivor, called for younger individuals to run for office to fight gun violence and comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen called for an end to antisemitism.

Among those who spoke was Andrew Young Jr., one of the last living attendees of the original march and a civil rights pioneer. He reflected on the progress made since 1963, and he encouraged people to pay attention to the progress that has been made over the years rather than focus on all of the wrongs in the past.

NAACP at UMW Club President Diana Guzman shared similar sentiments while making note of the progress that is still to be made.

“There is just so much hate in the Supreme Court. The main focus of our organization is to be focused on anti-hate outreach; we have retired veterans that are partnered with the NAACP. Let’s not forget the overall message of ‘I Have a Dream,’” she said.

The NAACP chapter at UMW aims to spread awareness for the same social justice issues that Dr. King first discussed 60 years ago, and they’re driven by the primary goal of spreading love.

“It’s not as much about pushing any political agenda, it’s more just a radical movement against all the hate that’s happening out there in the world today,” said Khadija Kamrah, a junior nursing major and member of NAACP at UMW.