An estimated 60,000 people gathered in Atlanta today to participate in the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women. Part of an international wave of demonstrations scheduled on the day after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the march featured speakers from the civic, business and faith communities, as well as Grammy-winning hip hop performers
Large crowds began to arrive at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta mid-morning in spite of heavy storms and a tornado watch in effect. At a 1:00 PM rally at The Center, U.S. Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis greeted the group of thousands with defiant optimism: “I know something about marching,” he said, referring to his distinction as being the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington and his association with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. “Sometimes you have to turn things upside down in order to set them right side up. When you see something that is not fair or not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to say something and do something,” he continued. “We cannot afford to be silent.”
After speaking, Lewis then joined fellow congressman Hank Johnson, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall to lead marchers toward the Georgia state capitol.