The 60th anniversary of the March on Washington occurred on Aug. 28. The anniversary was commemorated in the city of Washington, D.C. on Aug. 26. It was the protest where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” This year’s event took place on the exact same day a 21-year-old White supremacist, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, shot and killed three Black people in Jacksonville, Florida, before killing himself.
“On Saturday, our nation marked the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington — a seminal moment in our history and in our work towards equal opportunity for all Americans,” President Joe Biden said, according to an official statement. “But this day of remembrance and commemoration ended with yet another American community wounded by an act of gun violence, reportedly fueled by hate-filled animus and carried out with two firearms.”
Palmeter was near HBCU Edward Waters University when he conducted the violent attack.
“Even as we continue searching for answers, we must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America,” Biden’s statement read. We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin. Hate must have no safe harbor. Silence is complicity and we must not remain silent.
“[First lady] Jill [Biden] and I are praying for the victims and their families, and we grieve with the people of Jacksonville.”
Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris clarified a civil rights investigation has been launched to officially label it a hate crime and act of domestic terrorism, but the local sheriff said it was clear Palmeter “hated Blacks.”
“America is experiencing an epidemic of hate,” Harris’ official statement read. “Too many communities have been torn apart by hatred and violent extremism. Too many families have lost children, parents, and grandparents. Too many Black Americans live every day with the fear that they will be victims of hate-fueled gun violence — at school, at work, at their place of worship, at the grocery store.
“Every person in every community in America should have the freedom to live safe from gun violence. And Congress must help secure that freedom by banning assault weapons and passing other commonsense gun safety legislation.
“[Second gentleman] Doug [Emhoff] and I will keep the victims and their loved ones in our prayers.”
The shooting comes just over 15 months after the racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 Black people dead.