News & Politics

A Big DC Voting-Rights Protest Is Happening Saturday: What You Need to Know

Al Sharpton is one of the organizers of the March On for Washington and Voting Rights

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Wally Gobetz.

This Saturday, Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King Jr.’s family will lead the March On for Washington and Voting Rights. The date, August 28, is the 58th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the National Mall. There will also be other marches in various cities across the United States, and all of them are expected to draw thousands of people.

The goal of the protest is to urge Congress to advance voter-protection legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which was recently passed by the House but is likely to face hurdles in the Senate. “We are in a battle to protect our most sacred right and I commend the House of Representatives for recognizing the necessity of the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act,” said Martin Luther King III in a statement. “Now, it’s time for us…to show the Senate that we are demanding an end to the filibuster, that Jim Crow relic, and an end to voter suppression, once and for all.”

Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s march.

When and where is it?

Attendees can starting gathering in McPherson Square for a pre-rally at 8 AM. The crowd will begin marching at 10 AM from McPherson Square past Black Lives Matter Plaza and the White House towards the National Mall, where there will be a main speaker program with performers and leaders. Masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves will be provided for participants at the entrances to McPherson Square and the National Mall.

Who will speak?

The official lineup is still being confirmed, but you can expect remarks from Sharpton, members of the King family, and DC mayor Muriel Bowser. Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump will also speak, as well as members of Congress and DC statehood organizers.

How many people are expected to attend?

According to the National Park Service, the permit for the event lists an expected attendance of 50,000 people. A spokesperson for the march declined to estimate crowd size in advance.

Can you watch remotely?

If you are still worried about being around large crowds, don’t worry: March on For Voting Rights will be live streaming marches in more than 40 cities across the country.

Which streets will be closed?

MPD has released a list of streets that will be closed to traffic and parking one Saturday.

The following streets will be unable for parking on Saturday from 4 AM to 11:59 PM:

  • 3rd Street from Independence Avenue, SW, to C Street, NW
  • 4th Street from Independence Avenue, SW, to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • 7th Street from Independence Avenue, SW, to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • 13th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, to F Street, NW
  • E Street from 12th Street, NW, to 15th Street, NW
  • 14th Street from F Street, NW, to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 15th Street from K Street, NW, to Constitution Avenue, SW
  • 15th Street from K Street, NW, to I Street, NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 15th Street, NW, to 12 Street, NW
  • Vermont Avenue from I Street, NW, to H Street, NW
  • 16th Street from K Street, NW, to H Street, NW
  • Connecticut Avenue from I Street, NW, to H Street, NW
  • 17th Street from K Street, NW, to I Street, NW
  • I Street from 17th Street, NW, to 15th Street, NW
  • H Street from 17th Street, NW, to 15th Street, NW
  • Constitution Avenue from 18th Street, NW, to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • Jefferson Drive, SW, from 3rd Street to 14th Street, SW
  • Madison Drive, SW, from 3rd Street to 14th Street, SW

From 6 AM until 4 PM on Saturday, the following sheets will be closed to traffic:

  • 14th Street from Constitution Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • 7th Street from Constitution Avenue to Independence Avenue, SW
  • Jefferson Drive, SW, from 3rd Street to 15th Street, SW
  • Madison Drive, SW, from 3rd Street to 15th Street, SW
  • 12th Street Tunnel

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Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.