On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Mayor Kevin Johnson met with President Barack Obama and other mayors Friday to discuss possible solutions to youth violence in America's cities.
The private meeting at the White House was the first of three events Johnson is attending this week, said his spokesman, Ben Sosenko. Following Tuesday's meeting with Obama, Johnson joined U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to continue the discussion on how the administration can partner with cities to reduce youth violence, Sosenko said.
Wednesday morning, Johnson is scheduled to attend an interfaith service. In the afternoon, he will attend the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have A Dream" speech.
"The March on Washington 50 years ago was one of the most significant events in American history - it was a tipping point for the civil rights movement," Johnson said in a statement. "This march embodied the strength of community, the inherent thirst for civil and economic equality and the set the stage for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. It is my honor to face the Washington Monument and stand in the shadow of those who marched before me. It is my duty to continue to fight for the freedoms that they marched for."
The event is being hosted by The King Center and The Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom (National Council of Negro Women, SCLC, National Urban League, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, National Action Network, National Council of Churches, Children's Defense Fund. President Obama will speak at the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, and at 2 p.m. bells are scheduled to chime across America honring the time King finished his speech.
Call The Bee's Stephen Magagnini, (916) 321-1072. Follow him on Twitter @stevemagagnini.