What you need to know:
- Leaders in Oklahoma City have organized a march and rally on Saturday, August 28 for voting, civil rights.
- Event coincides with 58th annual march on Washington.
- Organizers seeking donations, support.
- March will begin in the historically Black Eastside community of OKC and end at the Oklahoma State Capitol building with a rally and community engagement fair.
- Organizers say all necessary permits have been obtained.
As civil rights leaders prepare to embark on the 58th annual March on Washington, organizers in Oklahoma are planning a march and rally of their own on Saturday, August 28.
In D.C. and several other major cities, civil rights leaders are honoring the spirit of the original March on Washington, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The events will focus on pushing Congress to pass stronger voting protections and combat the voting restriction legislation that has popped up in states across the country.
Marches planned across the country to expand voting rights
In regards to Republicans refusing to help pass the For the People Act, Martin Luther King III, the late Dr. King Jr.’s eldest son, told CNN in June it was a “sad state of affairs”.
“These 50 Republican senators decided that it’s not even worth a discussion and that’s pretty sad,” King III said.
If passed, the For the People Act would enhance democracy by allowing for automatic and same-day voter registration. It would expand access through vote-by-mail and early voting.
Additionally, the bill would limit states’ ability to remove voters from the rolls, and it would enhance election security following attacks from Trump supporters who continue to peddle “the Big Lie” that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Multiple state and Supreme Court cases have confirmed that President Joe Biden won the election.
Oklahoma march, rally planned for civil and voting rights
For Oklahoma’s part, Oklahoma City-based The Black Times journalist Tyreke Baker and other organizers will lead a march from the historically Black Eastside neighborhood of OKC that ends with a rally and community engagement fair at the state’s Capitol building from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 28.
The event comes after dozens of states have implemented restrictive measures on voting and as the notorious Oklahoma County Detention Center faces public scrutiny over increasing in-custody deaths. In 2021 only, at least eight detainees have died at the jail as of August 10, according to reports from Oklahoma City Free Press.
“We will peacefully march as a unified community to honor the work of our ancestors during the Civil Rights Movement,” The Black Times wrote in an article detailing the route of the march.
In a message to The Black Wall Street Times, organizer and The Black Times owner Tyreke Baker said it was important for him to organize the march after attending last year’s March on Washington.
“Seeing unity in our nation’s Capital inspired me to instead come back home and organize a solidarity march the same day,” Baker said.
March begins on the Eastside
Participants will begin with an opening ceremony at noon on Saturday on North Martin Luther King Ave. near NE 23rd St. Next, marchers will trek to the State Capitol building around 12:50 p.m. Then, from approximately 1:50 p.m. to 4 p.m. speakers will address the crowd on Capitol grounds as organizers hold a community engagement fair.
Topics the speakers will highlight include:
- Voting Strategies & Engagement
- The legacy and progress made by the Civil Rights Movement,
- Indigenous Issues in Oklahoma,
- LGBTQ+ visibility,
- Mental Health Awareness
- Criminal Justice & Prosecutorial Reform.
Moreover, the community engagement fair will give community members the opportunity to register to vote, as well as file complaints against the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
Organizers release call to action
Organizers have listed several ways for people to help Saturday’s events, including donations of water, volunteer drivers and bike riders to help guide marchers, volunteers to help pick up trash, and sharing the event on social media. To learn more about how to help email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our team has worked closely with the Oklahoma State Capitol and the City to get approval for the march and the rally,” The Black Times announced.
“We have permits to utilize the streets along with the use of Capitol grounds. Water and snacks will be available for participants, and will also have transportation available for our elderly & disabled community to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the march.”
“My personal goal for the event is to ensure that our ancestors are honored for the work that was achieved during the civil right era,” Baker told TheBWSTimes. “Dr. King inspired millions, and together the civil right era birthed the blueprint for future generations to pursue the dream of equality.”
To get involved with the march and rally, email email@example.com.