NAACP’s “America’s Journey to Justice” march concluded its 1,000 mile journey on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Tuesday afternoon.
Before the journey reached the historic steps of the Lincoln Memorial, their mission echoed through their many sit ins, demonstrations and training sessions in Selma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.
NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks welcomed and addressed the crowd on their historic journey.
“To those who taken a step, walked a mile, 10 miles, 20 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles, 200 miles, 300 miles, 400 miles, 500 miles, 600 miles, 900 miles, 1000 miles …for those of you who walked on “America’s Journey For Justice,” put your hands together and applaud all that God has done through you, with you and for our country,” William Brooks said.
The march, which began on August 1 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act was created to bring awareness to discriminatory voting practices, a sustainable living wage and access to public education. Social justice, youth activism, civil rights, democracy reform, religious, not-for-profit, labor, corporate, and environmental organizations were united through the NAACP’s call to justice — “Our Lives, Our Votes, Our Jobs, Our Schools Matter.”
“If we can have a Voting Rights of 1965, than we can march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, D.C. in 2015 and have a Voting Rights [Act] that works in 2015,” said Brooks. “We can’t wait, we shouldn’t wait and we don’t deserve to wait.”
Some standouts among the sea of marchers were: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Congresswoman Eleanor H. Norton (D-DC), Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and CBC chair G. K. Butterfield (D-NC).
“While we have come a long way in 50 years, it remains clear that our work still remains. It is important today as it was in 1965 that we commit ourselves to ensuring equity, equality, employment and education,” Butterfield said as he addressed the crowd.
“We march today, we march just as our predecessors marched 50 years ago as an acclamation of our hope and a firm belief that our efforts will bring about change…. Don’t sit down! Don’t sit down!”
Members from NAACP chapters across the nation were in attendance of the final leg of the march, which was also known on social media as the #JusticeSummer campaign.
Khyla Craine, Assistant General Counsel for the NAACP National Office expressed excitement with an uplifting spirit throughout the final moments of the 47-day journey.
“I think that [the march] is fantastic…it’s a reaffirmation of what the NAACP has stood for for the past 106 years about [what] we are really concerned about: our votes, our lives and our schools,” Craine said.
“Every cornerstone that the journey has been doing for the past 47 day has been crucial.”
Many college students also showed support for the final leg of the march.
Kamry Stanford, a junior political science major from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, came to D.C. for the common causes in terms of voting rights, Historical Black College and Universities (HBCU) funding, healthcare and police brutality.
“It’s all a common cause that we all need to fight for together because we are a democracy,” Stanford said, who is also a HBCU student action alliance member of the non-profit, nonpartisan organization, Common Cause.
Imani Harmon, President of the Howard University NAACP chapter, expressed solidarity with the #JusticeSummer campaign.
“The ‘America’s Journey For Justice’ march was as way to let everyone know that the NAACP is still relevant in today’s times,” Harmon said. “Next week, we will be assisting in National Voter Registration Day to get people to register to vote as well as assisting in giving legislative ideas to improve the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”