Clergy leaders from a range of faiths appeared together Monday in Washington, D.C., to seek racial justice on 54th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Participants marched from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to the Justice Department for the One Thousand Ministers March for Justice.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network originally organized the event to protest increased hate crimes, mass incarceration and discrimination. They urged the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to deal with these issues.
Sharpton said the violence in Charlottesville, Va., and Trump’s response earlier this month prompted increased interest in the gathering.
“Our hope is that when you looked at those Nazis carrying torches talking about ‘You will not replace us,’ we can contrast that with rabbis linking arms with Baptist ministers and Muslims marching in the spirit of Dr. King,” he told Religion News Service before the march. “They went to Robert E. Lee’s monument. We’re going to King’s monument and marching to the Justice Department.”
The protest also included non-racial issues.
“We will not be indifferent when transgender individuals are not allowed to serve in the military,” said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, an event participant. “We will not be indifferent when a sheriff is pardoned,” a reference to Trump pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday.
Monday’s march originally focused on clergy but other faith groups were encouraged to attend.
They included the Franciscan Action Network, a Washington-based Catholic organization focused on poverty and human rights, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Another group of clergy members gathered Monday at the National Press Club in Washington.
They also called for religious leaders to do more to confront racism, but it included pastors with conservative political views who don’t share the marchers’ views against Trump.
Bishop Harry Jackson, who serves on Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board, criticized the “hypocrisy” of the marchers.
“Okay, if I want to talk to you, I don’t march down the street to ‘talk’ to you, if you really want access,” he said.
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