'We're coming in hot!': Milwaukee protesters trek on foot to March on Washington

The trip took 24 days and 750 miles.

August 28, 2020, 1:59 PM

On Friday morning -- a moment of triumph.

Over 60 Milwaukee-based protesters arrived at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after a long and difficult trek on foot, from Wisconsin to the nation's capital.

The trip took 24 days and 750 miles -- 30 miles or more of travel each day.

PHOTO: Tory Lowe and Frank Sensabaugh walking Friday during the March on Washington.
Tory Lowe and Frank Sensabaugh walking Friday during the March on Washington.
Courtesy Tory Lowe

Tory Lowe, the founder of Justice Wisconsin, said he thought his friend Frank Sensabaugh, also known as "Frank Nitty," was joking when he asked Lowe to march with him on foot to D.C. for the 2020 March on Washington-"Get Your Knee off Our Necks" march in of honor Martin Luther King Jr., taking place Friday to celebrate the 57th anniversary of King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech, and to call for the end of police misconduct and excessive force following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others Black people killed and injured in police-involved shootings.

PHOTO: Tory Lowe and Frank Sensabaugh stand on the top of the steps at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.
Tory Lowe and Frank Sensabaugh stand on the top of the steps at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.
Courtesy Tory Lowe

But 44-year-old activist agreed and their journey began.

"It's time for racial inequality, discrimination, systematic racism to end. We want the next generation to be able to have a better future than what we had and not fight the same battles that we are fighting," Lowe said in a video diary sent to ABC News. He was just 20 miles from the border of Maryland and D.C. when he stopped to share his reflections.

The group of Black Lives Matter activists began their march on Aug.4, before Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha police officer. Blake's father said his son is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Lowe said he and his fellow protesters heard about Blake's shooting during their journey, which only gave them further motivation.

PHOTO: 60 Milwaukee protesters made the 750 mile-journey to the March on Washington.
60 Milwaukee protesters made the 750 mile-journey to the March on Washington.
Courtesy Tory Lowe

Walking from state to state did not come without adversity and resistance, they said.

Lowe told ABC News that he and his fellow protesters were often spit on, cursed at and called racial slurs.

Sensabaugh and Lowe were arrested in Indiana for blocking traffic, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their caravan faced gunfire while marching through Pennsylvania, striking and injuring one demonstrator, according to NPR's Wisconsin Public Radio.

PHOTO: People attend the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.
People attend the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 2020, in Washington on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.
Carolyn Kaster/AP

But the march continued.

Blasting loud music and chanting "Black Lives Matter," the caravan of protesters marched through big cities, quiet suburbs and small rural towns. Some locals residents joined in solidarity as they passed through, lowe said.

"We're almost there!" said protester Kenneth McNair in a video diary with Lowe. "If you were hanging with us, it finally paid off baby! They couldn't stop us!"

Sensabaugh, Lowe and their fellow demonstrator Sandy Soloman, are expected to speak at the March on Washington on Friday.

The group arrived at the Lincoln Memorial shortly after sunrise. They have not stopped to rest since arriving in D.C.

PHOTO: Demonstrators gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial for the "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" march in support of racial justice that is expected to gather protestors from all over the country in Washington, Aug. 28, 2020.
Demonstrators gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial for the "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks" march in support of racial justice that is expected to gather protestors from all over the country in Washington, Aug. 28, 2020.
Erin Scott/Reuters

Due to timing, they plan to stay at the memorial until the event is over.

"It's been an amazing journey. We've been called racially charged names ... And we've been arrested by Indiana State Police. And we've been shot at in Pennsylvania. I would have never thought that this would be the experience that I would have walking from Milwaukee to Washington D.C. It's definitely been interesting." Lowe said.

Sensabaugh and Rowe called their march both a "demonstration" and a "spiritual journey."

PHOTO: Demonstrators sit in socially distanced chairs at the Lincoln Memorial as thousands more begin to gather along the sides of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 2020.
Demonstrators sit in socially distanced chairs at the Lincoln Memorial as thousands more begin to gather along the sides of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the March on Washington, Aug. 28, 2020.
Tom Brenner/Reuters

"A lot of people didn't think we were going to make it here. There were a lot of obstacles in our way … knowing that I had to go 20 hours today and walk 82 miles, knowing that I had to walk through the night … We aren't even going to get a hotel, or shower. We're going to have to walk straight to the Lincoln Memorial, " Sensabaugh said in the video diary.

Despite their blistering feet, Lowe and Sensabaugh said they are filled with energy and excitement for the day ahead.

"This is just the beginning," Sensabaugh said.

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