The next organized racial justice protest in Anchorage has been postponed until Labor Day, Sept. 7.
Hosted by the Alaska Black Caucus, the “March on Alaska” was originally scheduled for Aug. 28 to coincide with the 57th anniversary of the historical March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Berkowitz disregarded his own warnings about large crowds and joined a Black Lives Matter protest in June.
Due to Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s COVID-19 orders which restrict gatherings to 50 people or less, the march has been moved to Labor Day. If the mayor’s emergency order remains in effect, the fate of the Sept. 7 march is unclear.
A Facebook notice for the event states, “The Alaska Black Caucus stands behind our mayor to promote the safety of Alaskans!”
In June Berkowitz disregarded his own warnings about gathering in large crowds and joined a massive Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Anchorage.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with more than a thousand protesters, Berkowitz strode to forefront, brushed past another speaker, removed his facemask and shouted into the communal microphone.
“I look out and I see a crowd full of revolutionaries and it makes my heart glad!” the mayor proclaimed on June 5. “We are doing COVID together, we are doing the economy together and we are doing civil justice together!”
The upcoming march is inspired by the death of George Floyd.
“Instigated from the protest movement arising from the police killing of George Floyd, the ‘Get Off Our Necks’ Commitment March on Washington will be a day of action that will demonstrate our commitment to fighting for policing and criminal justice, while standing in solidarity against RACISM!,” a notice for the event states.
The march will start at Town Square in Anchorage at 1 p.m.
Earlier this summer the Alaska Black Caucus urged Alaskans to only shop at businesses owned by blacks as a way to show solidarity with black people in working to eradicate racism through the use of economic influence. The goal was to ensure that not one penny was spent unless it was with a black-owned business.
According to Celeste Hodge-Growden, president of Alaska Black Caucus, the group aims to “dismantle the racist structures that have held many blacks back in the area of justice, education, health and economics.” The group claims that “systemic racism” has tainted many American institutions.
The caucus has also mobilized opposition to end the use of police resource officers in Alaska schools.
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The upcoming march is co-sponsored by the NAACP Anchorage branch. It is being billed as a “Commitment March” and all participants will be required to wear face masks.
The Alaska Black Caucus lists 31 sponsors of its organization. This includes local unions, the Alaska Senate Democratic Caucus, Alaska Legislature, Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska Airlines and a number of other government and private organizations and businesses.
Several other marches have occurred in Anchorage and around the state in the wake of the death of George Floyd this past May. While protests have sometimes turned violent in the Lower-48, events in Alaska have been largely peaceful. The message of the various marches, however, has been mixed and not always focused on racial justice. In a number of cases, participants have harnessed the outrage against Floyd’s death to advocate for LGBT and abortion rights, defunding police departments, dismantling the nuclear family, the removal of historic monuments and the promotion of Marxist political ideology.