The March on Washington, launched on the 57th anniversary of the original led by Martin Luther King Jr. on Aug. 28, 1963, featured the family of George Floyd, Jacob Blake and others, shutting down much of Washington, D.C. Area police feared more looting and rioting after the terror that struck the city as rioters attacked attendees on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
Led by well-known and often discredited minister and liberal activist Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, the theme was geared toward moving the nearly 100,000 people who filled up the space between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument into animosity and violence. Jacob Blake Sr. said, "There are two systems of justice," agitating the crowd with the so-called refrain on racism in America of "Guilty, guilty, guilty" and goading them to hit the streets. Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris also urged the crowd to action with her words, "Let's march on for our ancestors, and let's march on for our children and grandchildren."
Of great concern to any observer was the complete lack of social distancing, isolated use of masks and protections and the total silence of the media to such an obviously dangerous, virus-spreading event. The previous night, the small group at the Republican Convention, who all met outside with careful protection and had virus tests beforehand, was roundly criticized for meeting at all.
But the highlight of the rally was the committed Christian sister of Jacob Blake Jr., victim of a recent police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake's sister, Letetra Widman, stood her ground in the face of an atmosphere clearly in trigger mode to rampage the city. As a believer, she first offered her forgiveness and also stood against the move toward motivating riots with her words, "Fight not with violence but with love. Our problem is with ourselves."
She continued with, "Start by liking yourselves. Black women, stand up and educate yourselves! You are your brother's keeper! Support your men! Black children, get an education and make something of your lives! Black men, protect the Black family! Period!" and angrily walked off the stage. Her anger came, it seemed, at a rally that, despite her words of forgiveness toward those who harmed her brother, was rapidly turning into a time of recrimination and blame.
But there is hope. The bestselling author of God, Trump and COVID-19, Stephen Strang, says, "I believe these Back Christians—who usually support the Democratic Party—are beginning to look at Trump differently." And we cannot ignore the Scripture, "The Lord despises violent and deceitful people" (Ps. 5:6b, NET).
As the day wore on, it was clear that the area was gearing up for the worst, with a 10-block area surrounding the rally area cordoned off with police and uniformed National Guardsmen alongside local businesses all boarded up with large "Black Live Matter" signs as presumptive insurance payments. No doubt these entrepreneurs hoped their stores would not be hit as the 100,000 dispersed into the city and the cry of the injured Jacob Blake's Christian sister seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Amir George is the author of Liberating Iraq and directs The World Helpline at theworldhelpline.org.
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