Utahns march on anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ’I Have A Dream’ speech

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah activists hold a march from Utah's Capitol on Friday, August 28, 2020, to Washington Square Park to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington in D.C. where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

Nearly six decades after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” address, Nevaeh Parker stood in front of the Utah Capitol early Friday and recited part of the speech.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ’We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

About 250 people gathered for a march Friday in Salt Lake City to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, and similar marches took place throughout the country.

Thousands of people showed up at the nation’s capital Friday where the Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, King Jr.’s son, “delivered keynote addresses that show the urgency for federal policing reforms, to decry racial violence, and to demand voting rights protections ahead of the November general election,” the Associated Press reported. The event came as protests continue in Kenosha, Wis., after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, on Sunday, sparking a national outcry.

Emanuel Vazquez said he and other organizers of the Salt Lake City march hoped to promote unity and people “coming together in Utah.” Multiple groups were involved with the event, including Northern Utah Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter Utah, the Southern Utah Black Lives Matter and the Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid program, among others.

They started Friday with speeches in front of the Capitol and then marched down the hill to Washington Square Park, where more speeches and celebrations were planned.

I’m grateful for Martin Luther King’s dreams. I’m grateful for his example of how to be a true, loving, soul-reaching, hardworking leader,” Parker told the crowd. “One day, I hope to inspire the world like he did.”

She added, “He left us with a legacy to uphold, that we would stand together until we are free. May his words never be forgotten and his name never be lost as we wait for the day to hear freedom ring.”

The crowd cheered as Parker handed the microphone to the next speaker. Drivers in cars passing by honked their horns in solidarity. People yelled “Black Lives Matter” and “no justice, no peace.” They recited the names of people killed by the police, such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.

Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, said she was tired of injustice. She encouraged marchers to return to the Capitol in January to support police reform bills that are expected to be sponsored by legislators.

“We can protest everyday,” she said, “...but unless we pass these bills to hold them accountable, what is this worth?”

To create change, people also need to vote, said Rosalba Dominguez, the first Latina to serve on the Murray City Council.

“The system has been designed to not celebrate people like us. The system has been designed to make sure others, who are not the color of our skin, get the benefits. And now with COVID, we are seeing that and we are feeling that,” she said.

Dominguez encouraged those listening to “find the love among each other today.”