March on Washington 2020: After COVID-19 cancels trip, Chicagoans work for change at home

Nearly 6 decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington D.C.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are hundreds of Chicagoans who wanted to go to the 57th anniversary of MLK's historic march on Washington but were unable to because of Washington D.C.'s self-quarantine rules.

However, while they couldn't join the movement in the nation's Capitol, the group is still working to honor the march through their actions at home.

Tonya Hooks was only a child when Martin Luther King Jr. led the first march on Washington nearly six decades ago.

"We wanted them to see what our ancestors went through so that we could be free," Hooks said.

She says she should have been following in those footsteps, bringing young people along from the South Side in hopes of change.

"We were taking them to maybe give them some hope on moving forward and out of this," she said.

RELATED: Thousands at DC march for policing reforms, commemorating MLK's 'I Have A Dream' address
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Watch a portion of the ABC News special report on the Aug. 28 march in Washington, D.C. to commemorate of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Hooks and others from My Block, My Hood, My City were going to the march until self-quarantine rules canceled their plans.

"I think we shouldn't see it as an opportunity to kind of sit back and sit this one out," she said.

"I think we should see it as an opportunity and how we can still engage," added Zindy Marquez.

Marquez said while she isn't able to march in Washington right now, she is working to further Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream here in Chicago.

"I think it's so important to honor and celebrate the work of the leaders and the activists that came before us, but then to also take that responsibility of continuing to push this work forward because we have so much more work left to do," she said.

RELATED: Emmett Till's legacy lives on 65 years after Chicago teen's murder
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Eight years to the day before MLK Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched and thrown from a Mississippi bridge for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

That work is living on in the steps of 21-year-old activist Cedric Caschetta from Lowell, Indiana who is currently in Washington D.C. for the march.

"Experiencing this [Friday] was mind-blowing. Surreal," Caschetta said.

He says he is going to come home more activated, with more fervor to stand up for what's right.

"This is unfinished business that will never be finished until you see the result, and I think it's going to be with our generation," he said.
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