Md. Civil Rights Groups Marching To D.C. To Demand Jobs

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The plea for more jobs is at the center of a march from Maryland to Washington D.C. this holiday weekend. As Gigi Barnett reports, demonstrators say their message is aimed at Capitol Hill.

Inside the Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore, there are prayers for a tough task ahead.

“We march because we are called to address the issues of the injustice in our times,” said Dr. Helena Hicks.

That issue is jobs and this group is demanding more of them. So, on this Martin Luther King holiday weekend, the group plans to take that message to lawmakers on Washington– on foot.

“Will they hear us? We know they know the problem exists. We think that as our movement gathers steam and more and more people go out and march each day, they’ll listen,” said volunteer organizer Sharon Black.

The first stop on the journey is the old Reed’s Drugstore, where the first recorded lunch counter sit in occurred back in 1955. Dr. Helena Hicks was one of the Morgan State students who desegregated the drug store, which is now in danger of being redeveloped. She says these modern-day walkers are continuing King’s legacy.

“I think they are brave souls and they are really the salvation of this country, because if we don’t do something about jobs and equal pay, we are going to be something other than what we are now,” Hicks said.

The group says nearly 60 percent of young people in Baltimore don’t have jobs. It’s in part why Professor Kostis Papadantonakis is joining the journey. He says this is the kind of March Dr. King would lead.

“People need hope. If there was one message that Dr. Martin Luther King left, [it] was not to give up hope,” Papadantonakis said.

The three-day walk is about 41 miles long and demonstrators will end up in the nation’s capital on Monday, the official King holiday.

Members from several different civil rights groups including the Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Occupy Baltimore joined in the march.

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