Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday to participate in two simultaneous social justice marches that were held in Washington, D.C. and across the country. The March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women both took place on the same day but organizers emphasized they were not in competition with each other and while each march began with independent rallies the two groups then marched together to the Justice Department and National Mall.
Organziers began putting together the March for Racial Justice when a Minnesota police officer was acquitted in the shooting of Philando Castile, whose girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting live on Facebook in July 2015. “I was feeling, of course, a very certain kind of way that black people can’t get justice in this country,” Maurice Cook, one of the organizers, said. “And it’s been, of course, a very long time that we’ve been here waiting on it.”
The head of Black Women’s Blue Print, Farah Tanis, explained to the Washington Post that when she first heard about the March for Racial Justice she wanted to be sure there was a separate mobilization that would put issues that are directly affecting black women front and center. “I said to myself that there will not be another March for Racial Injustice that does not truly center on black women and their issues,” Tanis said.
The marches have been criticized by Jewish groups because they fell on Yom Kippur. The organizers chose September 30 to mark the anniversary of the 1919 Elaine Massacre, where some 200 black people were killed at the hands of police and citizens in Arkansas. The group apologized, saying organizers didn’t realize that anniversary coincided with Yom Kippur this year. “Our mistake highlights the need for our communities to form stronger relationships,” organizers of the March for Racial Justice wrote in a statement. Some Jewish groups said they would participate in a march in New York on Sunday.
Marchers on Saturday carried some powerful, inspiring, and even funny signs to support their cause. Here are some of the best ones: