June 27, 2000

 

WASHINGTON -- According to the Associated Press, national civil rights groups, including the Urban League and the NAACP, will join Aug. 26 in a march to Washington to mark the 37th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech, the Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday. Under the slogan "Redeem the Dream," the march will target racial discrimination by police. Plans for the march and the opening of a national headquarters in Washington were announced last week.

Hugh Price, president of the Urban League, and Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, appeared at the National Press Club to announce their support.

In a statement issued announcing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's (SCLC) co-sponsorship of the march with Sharpton's National Action Network, SCLC President Martin Luther King III said, "If you are something other than mainstream American White male, wearing a three piece suit and driving a Mercedes will not prevent you from being stopped on American highways, being followed around in stores, being passed over by taxicabs. . . and being profiled, stereotyped and defined by factors you have not control over. It is time for us to Redeem the Dream and step one is `to awaken the American consciousness' to the reality of racial profiling." Sharpton said he would travel around the nation to organize the march, visiting Raleigh, N.C., Miami and New Orleans this week.

"There's a widespread feeling in this country that the president and his administration have not done enough against racial profiling," Sharpton said. "That's likely to have significant political fallout in a presidential election year."

Both major party candidates for President, Al Gore and George W. Bush, have said they opposed racial profiling. (For more information, see http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w060300b.html and http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w011800b.html.) However, the ACLU has criticized the failure of the current administration to address law enforcement tactics taught by the Drug Enforcement Administration that have contributed to the problem. (For more information, see http://archive.aclu.org/news/1999/n060999c.html and http://archive.aclu.org/news/1999/w122999a.html.)

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