The "March On for Voting Rights" will host its flagship event in Washington DC, but marches will also take place in other major cities, including Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and Houston.
Marchers in Washington will gather at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the historic 1963 civil rights march on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Millions of people are expected to attend marches throughout the country, according to a press release from March On for Voting Rights organizers.
This will be the second
consecutive year that organizers have commemorated the March on Washington with a renewed effort to fight for equality. The "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Commitment March" in 2020 in Washington pushed for federal voting rights legislation and police reform, and came at the height of a racial reckoning sparked by George Floyd's death.
Plans for the march were announced
in June, one day after Senate Republicans blocked the For the People Act
-- a signature voting and election bill that Democrats had pitched to counter state-level efforts to restrict voting access. Republicans denounced the bill as a partisan power grab and a federal overreach into state voting and election systems.
Here's what you need to know.
Where will the march take place?
The main march will be held in Washington, but there are other marches planned in more than 40 cities and towns across the US on Saturday.
The March On for Voting Rights official website has a map
where you can check if there is a march near you. There are also multiple virtual events taking place on the same day.
If there isn't a March On for Voting Rights event near you, organizers will let you host one
and will include it on the organization's map.
What time will the main march begin?
The schedule for main event in Washington DC is as follows:
- 8 a.m. EDT: Pre-rally at McPherson Square begins
- 9 a.m. EDT: Press set up starts at National Mall
- 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EDT: Marching from McPherson Square to National Mall
- 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT: Main speaker program on the National Mall
Check the official website
to find out when the march is taking place in your city.
What is the march route for the March on Washington?
People will gather at 8 a.m. at McPherson Square Park at 15th St., NW, and H Street, to march from McPherson Square past Black Lives Matter Plaza, passing the White House and Washington Monument.
The closing rally will take place with the backdrop of the National Mall, entering at 12th St. and Madison Drive, gathering from 7th St. to 14th St. between Jefferson Dr. and Madison Drive.
What is the purpose of this march?
Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, along with Rev. Al Sharpton, Andi Pringle and other voting rights leaders organized the march in an effort to urge lawmakers to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
The bill, which increases the power of the federal government and racial minorities to block or challenge election rules they find discriminatory, was passed by the House on Tuesday.
The bill faces a steep climb in the Senate, where the vast majority of Republicans oppose it, calling the legislation a massive federal overreach into the states' role in elections. At this point, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the only Senate Republican
expected to support the bill.
"If you want to understand why the vote is so important, look at the last 4 years, the last 10 years, and the last 100 years," Rev. Al Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network, said in a statement "Freedom fighter and Congressman John Lewis knew it was essential that every vote must count in order to assure every voice is represented, but unfortunately through federal voter suppression and gerrymandering, that hasn't been the case."
"Whether in Congress, in the streets, or during our March On for Voting Rights, this is the summer of activism," he added.
Who sponsored and funded the march?
The march is sponsored by Drum Major Institute, March On, the National Action Network, Future Coalition, SEIU, and 51 for 51, and is funded by the #ForJohn campaign.
The campaign was launched by Martin Luther King III, and his wife, Arndrea King, to raise money for local organizers
in critical states who are fighting for equal voting rights and pressing their Senators to pass election reform legislation.
Who will be on stage?
Elected officials, civil rights leaders, youth organizers, community activists and others will join Rev. Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and Arndrea Waters King on the stage.
Many speakers, including
Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter and activist Yolanda Renee King; Philonise Floyd, activist and brother of George Floyd; NAACP President Derrick Johnson; and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will address the marchers.
"Coretta Scott King told us, 'Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation,'" Arndrea Waters King, Drum Major Institute president, said in a statement. "Now is the time to earn and win our sacred right to vote. It is up to us to remind Congress they represent the people, and the people demand the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act."