Article by John Zangas, Video by Ford Fischer, Photos by Alejandro Alvarez
Washington, DC — The marchers passed by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statue under a steady rain where several spoke in tribute to the civil rights leader. They then marched past the White House and set up camp nearby at Farragut Square where they are holding a presence through September. They plan anti-supremacy actions during the next four weeks throughout the District.
The marchers began their peace walk in Charlottesville last week in response to a white supremacist rally held there on August 11. It was at the end of their rally that one of the white supremacists drove his car through a crowd of protesters in an act of terror as they were getting underway to march, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. He then backed up, running over more protesters. The attack was caught on video.
Organizer Nicole Charty said that the march was sending a message to the Trump administration that they will not permit white supremacy to flourish in this country. “We are not going to tolerate a president who refuses to speak out against white supremacy,” she said.
Charty said that the presence in Farragut Square would last as long as it would take to put pressure on the administration over concerns it was aligned with oppressive polices regarding immigration. “We are standing up for each other for the America we are trying to create,” she said.
The groups involved in the Farragut Square occupation have renamed the park “Impeachment Square” and will stay there 24 hours, 7 days a week. They plan to carry out periodic civil disobedience actions throughout September. The are also planning rallies and teach-ins at the park.
Lian Soco, an activist from New York, traveled to be part of the last leg of the march. “No amount of policy or legislation is going to stop supremacy. It’s going to take people in the streets,” she said. She believes that it was “not normal” for the political environment in the U.S. to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda.
Soco was in Charlottesville during the white supremacist rally and expressed outrage that it was allowed in the first place. “People are putting their bodies on the line and saying ‘no more,’” she said.
Shabd Simon-Alexander, an activist who walked the entire distance, said that the march was incredibly well-organized and very inspiring. “The organizers were incredibly loving,” she said.
But the marchers had to deal with interruptions from police who kept changing the route. “We had some safety concerns and it was touch and go,” she said. There were reports of both housing and route concerns due to threats against the marchers as they passed through the town of Culpepper.
Simon-Alexander expressed a need for confronting truths about what is happening in America today. “It’s time for us to deal with and confront the white supremacy in this country. America was founded on slavery and unless we actually confront this we can never deal with it,” she said.
Update: Police Seize Camp Materials