MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fifty-seven years after the peaceful March on Washington, crowds are once again on the way for another march to bring attention to the issue of racial justice.

In 1963, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a Dream” speech.

Julian Johnson believes the entire world will be watching when thousands pack the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to push for police reform and racial justice.

“I like to do my part in showing up,” Johnson said. “I’m tired of crying, and people don’t understand that hurt, but that hurt is real and it’s based on I’m tired of seeing Black men killed with impunity.”

Johnson, 63, says he cannot stomach to watch another Black man gunned down by police. He says bringing attention to the issue and demanding reform is the only way to confront the problem.

The 1963 March on Washington (credit: CBS)

“People don’t really understand that there is a separate reality that exists. A reality where the possibility of a negative interaction with police can lead to injury or death increases because you are Black,” he said. “If we don’t do anything, what’s going to happen next? Who is going to be the next one?”

Johnson hopes the march will forge coalitions among all Americans who want true reform and change when it comes to policing, race relations and equity.

“I want to be optimistic and hopeful that things can change, but things need to change because this is a powder keg that we’re sitting on, and if we do not truly address this it’s only going to get worse,” he said.

Johnson says he’s looking forward to getting the motivation he needs to return to Minneapolis with a renewed focus on how to create change in his community.

“Minneapolis actually has an opportunity to set an example of what can be done. We can reform this department, it just has to be the political will,” Johnson said.

Reg Chapman

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