FAQ: Everything you need to know about the 2020 March on Washington

Thousands are expected to stream into D.C. Friday for a major march organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton to protest police brutality.

The march comes nearly three months after nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and amid continued coronavirus restrictions. It will also be just a day after President Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president in an address from the South Lawn of the White House.

Here’s everything you need to know about the big event if you’re planning to attend or if you’re looking to navigate around the extensive road closures that will be in effect.

  • Q: What is the march all about?
  • Officially known as the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off our Necks,” the march was born out of the protest movement that sprang up in cities across the U.S. after the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest in May.

    Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder of the National Action Network, announced the march in June during the eulogy he gave at Floyd’s funeral.

    The march is being convened by Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. The march comes on the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” address.

    The march will “address the senseless loss of Black lives at the hands of police and advocate for issues including police accountability and criminal justice reform, voter protection and more.”

  • Q: When is the march? Is there a schedule of events?
  • The march is set to take place Friday, Aug. 28.

    Attendees will gather at the Lincoln Memorial at 7 a.m. Friday, according to a schedule posted online. The pre-program will last from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The program will start at 11 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. In addition to Sharpton and King, the event will feature attorney Benjamin Crump and the families of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

    Starting at 1 p.m., attendees will then march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in West Potomac Park and finish up by 3 p.m.

  • Q: What steps are being taken to make sure people stay healthy?
  • All participants will be required to wear masks. There will also be hand-sanitizing stations and temperature-checking stations throughout the event.

    Participants will have their temperatures taken before entering the National Mall area and will be situated in “grids” to enforce social distancing, Tylik McMillan, an official with the National Action Network, told CNN.

    Event organizers are asking anyone traveling to D.C. for the march to abide by D.C.’s coronavirus measures, which include a 14-day quarantine for some travelers.

    Visitors from 30 “high-risk” states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days to slow the spread of the coronavirus under a measure ordered by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. The quarantine also applies to D.C. residents who travel to any of those states. The full list of high-risk states was updated Monday.

    The National Park Service released a list of specific rules for the march in their permit:

    Buses:

    • Check temperatures of traveling participants before boarding each bus.
    • Mandate a face mask on each bus.
    • Supply hand sanitizer on each bus.
    • Review social distancing practices of the march site before arrival on each bus.

    Upon entry to the site:

    • Check temperatures using infrared thermometers, distributing face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer at distribution tents at points of general entrance to march participants.
    • Provide physical guides to ensure that people remain at least 6 feet apart.
    • Display signs.
  • Q: How many people are expected?
  • The original permit approved by the National Park Service estimated a crowd of 100,000 people.

    However, Sharpton told the AP that organizers were asking some people in coronavirus “hot spot” states to take part in satellite marches instead of traveling to D.C.

    “The objective is not how many thousands of people will be [in Washington],” Sharpton told the AP. “It’ll still be a good crowd.”

  • Q: Will there be road closures?
  • Yes. D.C. police say drivers should prepare for “extensive road closures.”

    A number of streets will be closed around the National Mall from 6 a.m. Friday until 11:59 that night. They are:

    • Independence Avenue SW from 14th Street to Ohio Drive SW
    • 23rd Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Memorial Bridge
    • Henry Bacon Drive NW from Constitution Avenue to Lincoln Memorial Circle NW
    • Constitution Avenue from 12th Street to 18th Street NW
    • Southbound Rock Creek Parkway will be closed at Virginia Avenue NW
    • Maine Avenue SW will be closed at I-395 to all westbound traffic
    • Access to East Potomac Park from I-395 will be by National Park Service permit only
    • 18th Street NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue NW
    • 17th Street NW from L Street to Independence Avenue SW
    • 16th Street NW from L Street to I Street NW
    • 15th Street NW from L Street to Independence Avenue SW
    • 14th Street NW from L Street to Independence Avenue SW
    • 13th Street NW from L Street to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    • New York Avenue from 11th Street NW to 15th Street NW
    • Vermont Avenue from L Street NW to H Street NW
    • Connecticut Avenue from L Street NW to H Street NW
    • I Street NW from 12th Street to 18th Street NW
    • H Street NW from 12th Street to 18th Street NW
    • G Street from 12th Street NW to 15th Street NW and 17th Street to 18th Street
    • F Street NW from 12th Street NW to 15th Street NW and 17th Street to 18th Street
    • E Street NW from 12th Street NW to 15th Street NW and 17th Street to 18th Street
    • D Street NW from 17th Street to 18th Street
    • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 12th Street NW to 15th Street NW and 17th Street to 18th Street NW

    See a map of the street closures below. (Click to view larger)

    The road closures associated with the Aug. 28 march. (Courtesy D.C. police)

    Even more streets will be closed to parking starting early on the day of the march. They are:

    • Constitution Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • Independence Avenue from 3rd Street, NW to 23rd Street, SW
    • Connecticut Avenue from H Street, NW to L Street, NW
    • Vermont Avenue from H Street, NW to L Street, NW
    • I Street from 12th Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • H Street from 12th Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • K Street from 12th Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • New York Avenue from 12th Street, NW to 15th Street, NW
    • 17th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to L Street, NW
    • 16th Street From H Street, NW to O Street, NW
    • 15th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to L Street, NW
    • 14th Street from Independence Avenue, SW to K Street, NW
    • 13th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to E Street, NW
    • 12th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to E Street, NW
    • 11th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to E Street, NW
    • 10th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to E Street, NW
    • 9th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    • 7th Street from Independence Avenue, SW to E Street, NW
    • 6th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    • 4th Street from Independence Avenue, SW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    • 3rd Street from Independence Avenue, SW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    • 23rd Street from E Street, NW to Constitution Avenue, NW
    • Virginia Avenue from 23rd Street, NW to Constitution Avenue, NW
    • E Street from 23rd Street, NW to 18th Street, NW
    • New York Avenue from 18th Street, NW to 17th Street, NW
    • 20th Street from E Street, NW to Constitution Avenue, NW
    • 21st Street from E Street, NW to Constitution Avenue, NW
    • 19th Street from E Street, NW to Constitution Avenue, NW
    • C Street from 18th Street, NW to Virginia Avenue, NW
    • C Street from Virginia Avenue, NW to 21st Street, NW
    • D Street from 18th Street, NW to 17th Street, NW
    • Madison Street from 3rd Street, NW to 15th Street, NW
    • Jefferson Street from 3rd Street, NW to 15th Street, NW
  • Q: How should attendees prepare? What items are prohibited?
  • Flags, banners and signs are allowed but not on poles or wooden sign posts. Organizers encourage people to use cardboard sign posts. Folding chairs are also prohibited. In addition, attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather. For now, the forecast is showing clear skies with highs in the 80s. If you’re planning to attend, organizers encourage you to RSVP online.

    If you’d like to volunteer, there’s more information online.

  • Q: Can I watch online?
  • Yes. The NAACP will livestream the march.

    After the march, Archbishop of Washington Wilton Gregory will celebrate a mass from the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle commemorating the 57th anniversary of the 1963 march. It will be available via a livestream.  

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