As we head into the fifth day of March2Justice, it’s hard to say goodbye to our new family at Lincoln University, America’s first historically black college and a former stop on the Underground Railroad.
Our Justice Champions have each taken about 225,000 steps by now, and though their legs and feet may ache, they say it’s nothing compared to the pain felt by the mothers and fathers who’ve lost their babies to police violence. These extraordinary individuals have all been marching since Staten Island and will press on until we arrive in DC on Tuesday April 21. While we come together with a shared struggle, each individual contributes his or her own stories, experiences, and voice to the march. Here are just a few of the Champions on this journey.
Malik lives in New York and is originally from Cleveland. He marches because he wants to put an end to the militarization of the police and the dehumanization of his fellow people. He believes that police who kill unarmed civilians need to be held accountable without exception. He grew up witnessing police being disrespectful towards the very people that comprised his community on a regular basis. He feels obligated to not only see these communities and these stories, but to share their stories and show their pain to the world. In his words; “We must continue to amplify this message in our communities because we can’t accept desensitization. These killings have to stop. Kids are dying for no reason. The impact is not just on those we lose to police violence but the families who have to live without their loved ones every day. I lost a friend at hands of police two years ago, I march for him.”
Skylar is a 16-year-old high school student from Connecticut who was committed to attending the March2Justice after she learned about the march online. She spent a lot of time convincing her mom to let her go, but ultimately Skylar prevailed. Her mom told us that she couldn’t deny Skylar’s passion, sincerity and eagerness to attend this march. When asked why she is marching, Skylar told us that she has a duty to be here to change the minds of those closest to her. It starts at home. We are blessed by her young energy.
Michelina & Sade are two young women who met in the Summer of 2011 at the Sadie Nash Leadership Project in New York City. They had no idea then that the act of exchanging smiles and writing appreciation notes to each other would become a five year practice and blossom into a revolutionary sisterhood. These two women march alongside each other today, inspiring each other to push through each mile.
In their words, “We walk for each other, for our sisters, for our future children. This March is nothing that we could have prepared for but I know that having her by my side and often, leading me, has been transformative for our sisterhood. It’s in the glances, the smiles, the ‘how do your feet feel,’ the ‘I got your epi pen,’ the hugs. Though we have known and supported each other for the last few years, this march has changed something. Our sisterhood bonded and transformed forever.”
Join us in spirit if you can’t join us on the road: Tell us why you “march” for justice using the hashtag #WhyWeMarch
Visit the March2Justice hub for extensive coverage here.