WASHINGTON — Now that the March on Washington has come and gone, youth leaders are calling on their generation to continue the movement for real change.
One of those leaders — Ty Hobson-Powell — had the chance to share his message on Friday at the march.
He co-founded Concerned Citizens DC during the initial protests for social justice in June. Hobson-Powell and thousands of others hit the streets across the country after Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd during an arrest for an alleged counterfeit bill. He was unarmed.
His group has continued the movement for change — marching in the streets every week since.
“There is a world that needs us," Hobson-Powell said.
During his speech Friday, he called for a unified message for change.
“Ready to carry on the legacy of the late great John Lewis and engage in good trouble for good causes," he said. "Causes like re-imagining public safety, abolishing the police and defunding the police to refund the people in the things that will actually make Black Lives Matter.”
Days before his speech, Hobson-Powell said he was arrested in Louisville as he and other members of his D.C. group marched for justice for Breonna Taylor.
The women were protesting the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was killed on March 13 in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, by Louisville Metro Police.
Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were in their own home when police made a late-night raid on the wrong address, looking for someone who had been taken into police custody hours earlier. Taylor was shot eight times. Though one officer was fired months after the incident, none of the officers involved have been arrested or charged.
“As we were walking across the bridge, and they were advancing on us with batons, I couldn’t help but think of the imagery of John Lewis and all the greats that came before us, realizing that in this moment that was my Selma," Hobson-Powell said. "This was the time we have to stand tall, uncompromising in our call for justice.”
Hobson-Powell said he spent about 10 hours in jail before being released and charged with two misdemeanors related to the nonviolent protest.
He returned to the District strengthened in his resolve to create change — and was asked to speak at the march.
“It was an honor to be a part of shaping the narrative of what that change should look like," Hobson-Powel said.
He said the work is not over.
“This is about being in a sustained movement," Hobson-Powell said. "We were out there marching in the rain yesterday, and it’s like to have that level of dedication no matter what it takes ... So that is like a call to action to all concerned citizens everywhere to have a conscience in this moment now to step up and care and act.”
He said they will continue marching, contacting elected officials, and using their voices to carry on the movement.