"There may be some who find it less easy to get here, but that's the battle we're waging," Gray said responding to a reporter who mentioned that many of the event's participants might be elderly residents who need a lift or directions to the war memorial. Perry later said she is expecting a younger crowd.
When pressed for greater clarity on the event's planning, the mayor became riled up about DC's status relative to the states. "I'm going to make this happen!" he said. "It's time to make this indignity stop."
One crucial component of any public demonstration plan is the readiness of emergency medical services, something that has been more of a concern in the wake of multiple ambulance fires earlier this month. Paul Quander, the deputy mayor for public safety, said that first-aid tents and ambulances will be stationed around the rally site.
Whatever crowd shows up on Saturday, the event will begin with a rally at the War Memorial at 8:30 a.m. and proceed with a march to the Lincoln Memorial. (There is also, Gray stressed, a sign-making event Thursday at noon on Freedom Plaza.) The DC statehood event may wind up crossing paths with a demonstration being put on by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, which is marching Saturday morning from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.