‘More work to be done’: Community honors 57th anniversary of March on Washington
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — On the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, people in Wilmington took to the streets to for a peaceful protest rally.
On Friday evening, dozens gathered at the 1898 Memorial in downtown Wilmington, including one man who participated in the original March on Washington.
“Over the 57 years, a lot has been done,” Herbert Harris said. “We should not short change that. But when we look at the climate right now, there’s a lot more that has to be done.”
Harris says he was going to school in New York in 1963, when he made the trip to Washington D.C. to join in the march.
Decades later, people are still gathering to honor the 57th anniversary and continue to fight for equal rights.
“The system has to change, and who can change the system but the American people,” Sonya Patrick, with the Black Lives Matter Wilmington Chapter, said.
When looking back over the last several decades, Harris says the nation has made a lot of progress, but there are still changes to be made.
“The fact that we’re here right now, means there’s a whole lot more work to be done,” Harris said. “Things have gotten more subtle. A lot of the issues Dr. King talked about, the racism, now is much more under the covers.”
Even though he stands here today and continues to fight for equality, Harris also acknowledges a few of the accomplishments the Black community has made since the March on Washington.
“We have a lot more Black politicians, mayors, city council people, state legislators,” he said.
Harris says three things need to happen in our nation to make more progress in the fight for equality.
“Number one, we have to understand the history,” he said. “Two, we have to understand what has not worked. Three, you have to change people’s hearts. If you change the laws and the hearts don’t change, it doesn’t matter.”
Patrick says this year’s celebration is even more important because more people are paying attention to their efforts and want to get involved.
“As and African American in this country, it’s a little frustrating that 57 years later, we’re doing the same march, and the same things are happening in a different way,” she said. “But what’s encouraging is people are standing up and saying enough is enough.”
Leaders at Friday’s event says change starts with hearing each other out about the issues they’re facing, and validating those struggles regardless of whether or not their struggles are the same.
“Just agree to listen, and to talk to one another,” Harris said.
There is a second part to the 57th anniversary celebration happening Saturday. An event is being held virtually over Zoom, where several other pioneers who participated in the original March on Washington will speak and share their stories.