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The Power of Now
Event Date(s):Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 8:00am
Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall Washington, DC
Take a look at photos of LDF at the March on Washington, with a special appearance from Cory Booker!
Jelani Cobb interviews Sherrilyn for his NewsDesk piece in The New Yorker:
Just outside the Lincoln Memorial, I spoke to Vera Sky, a seventy-three-year-old social worker who was holding a homemade sign that said “END THE SEQUESTER.” Amid an overwhelmingly African-American crowd, Sky, a diminutive white woman, stood out. She explained that she’d come because “I was here for justice in 1963, and I’m still waiting.” That sentiment was a theme. Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund, talked to me about the need to acknowledge history coexisting with the very current need to protect access to the vote in wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby v. Holder, which struck down crucial elements of the Voting Rights Act. (One of the most visible delegations at the march was from North Carolina, which has just passed a law that will likely diminish black voting; the state N.A.A.C.P. has been organizing “Moral Monday” demonstrations in protest of it for months.) And there was another reason why the march was important, Ifill told me. “It’s important just for us to see each other. This work can be isolating and dispiriting. It’s important to see that there are other people all over the country who care deeply about this cause.”
Ifill was referring to groups like the Dream Defenders, a group of African-American activists who have been sleeping in Florida’s capitol building for the last four weeks in an effort to force Governor Rick Scott to call the legislature to a special session to address the state’s Stand Your Ground laws, and who were gathered near the steps to the memorial. “I think this was sold largely as a commemorative event, a chance to celebrate an incredible moment on this spot fifty years ago,” said Steven Pargett, twenty-four, an active member of the Dream Defenders. “But, I would hope that people leave with a feeling that there is a movement today, work that remains.”