JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Civil rights icon the Rev. Al Sharpton said the next national hate crimes summit shouldn't be at the White House - he wants to bring it to Jacksonville.
The legendary activist and minister was joined by the family and descendants of Martin Luther King Jr. to announce the initiative Monday from the nation's capital. Leaders from civil rights organizations accompanied Sharpton and the King family to mark 60 years since the March on Washington.
He spoke of a similar reenactment, saying this time, people were marching for "today's issues," emphasizing that the work is not done.
"As we were marching, there was a hate crime committed in Jacksonville," Sharpton said.
Sharpton and the King family met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Monday to mark what became a cornerstone protest in U.S. history. During their meeting, Biden decried racism after learning of a racially motivated attack that killed three people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville.
"We are having eery memory that as much hope as we represent there's always going to be those that will keep hate alive," he said.
Four people died last Saturday after being shot at Dollar General on Kings Road. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said the shooting was racially motivated and the suspect turned the gun on himself after targeting three Black people in the store. He was armed with a Glock and an AR-15 style rifle and wearing a tactical vest, according to authorities.
Sharpton said in the wake of the tragedy, it's time for the White House to host another summit to address hate-motivated violence - and federal officials need to do it where hate lives.
"It's time for No. 2," Sharpton said, "we want to do it in Jacksonville, Florida. We told the president we want to go to Jacksonville."
The White House hosted the United We Stand Summit last year "to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety." It also honored communities that were healing in the wake of hateful attacks, such as El Paso, Atlanta, Buffalo and others.
Sharpton said it's time to hold more people accountable.
He wants to go to more businesses and review commitments they made after the death of Georgia Floyd, citing diversity in employment and contracts, and take a closer look at efforts of inclusivity.
"We told the president that there must be more done more about curriculum of nonviolence," he said. "It was an open and candid meeting but we leave here determined to continue to stand together across racial lines and generations and try and make this country move forward," Sharpton said in part.
"Our Chief Diversity Officer along with other local stakeholders, will meet virtually with the ADL later today [Thursday] to learn more about this proposal," Melissa Ross, spokesperson for Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, stated in an email to First Coast News, On Your Side when asked about Sharpton's statement.