UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — On Sunday, the 59th anniversary of one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history, there was a smaller march on Gracie Mansion to advocate for change.
Advocates and family members who lost loved ones to what they described as police brutality marched to Gracie Mansion to call on Mayor Eric Adams to support what they consider one of the critical civil rights issues of our time: police accountability. Specifically, they want passage of the Community Power Act.
“It’s a bill right before the New York City Council that would establish an elected civilian review board to investigate police cases,” Lee Gill, a member of the Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board, told PIX11 News. “And it would establish an independent prosecutor ti avoid a conflict of interest.”
At the same time as this march in Carl Schurz park, national civil rights leaders were also remembering the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963. The 1963 march brought between 200,000 and 300,00 to the nation’s capital.
The purpose of the march 59 years ago was to advocate for the civil and economic rights of Black Americans. It was where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech, which called for an end to racism.
“This year we’ve decided to be on the ground and call for the redemption of this country and the preserving of Martin Luther King’s dream,” Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder of the National Action Network, said in a zoom news conference.
Sharpton and other national civil rights leaders said many of the goals of the 1963 march remain unmet. They outlined a path to next year’s 60th anniversary, advocating for the civil and economic rights of African Americans.
“The way we can affect economically is to use our vote,” Rev. Sharpton said in a zoom news conference. “So that we put in office those who would deal with the economic challenges facing our community.”