October 10, 2015 — Washington DC — The crowd on the lawn outside the Capitol was massive and the intensity great. Armed Capitol Police authorities with weapons, helicopters, roof-top and ground troops were present to guard the gates, lawn and monuments of the United States of America. The irony was with all such force, both by the law enforcement officials of the U.S. government, there were even more Black men (and women) in uniforms and plain clothes present, ready, willing and able to show force if necessary yet show the power of peace and desire for justice.
20 years ago, the historic Million Man March, led by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of The Nation of Islam, showed the massive gathering power of Black men. That march was an introspective call for Black Men to essentially organize, shape-up and do better.
Yesterday at the Million Man March twitter will only let me upload 30 seconds 🙁 pic.twitter.com/8S5leOpm07
— Khema Ebron✨ (@Kidrauhlifaa) October 11, 2015
This year, the Minister broadened his organizing base to include large groups of women, LGBT, Native Americans, Hispanics, Veterans and many more to examine, discuss and serve notice on the government and law enforcement authorities that the time has come for JUSTICE OR ELSE. The issue of Police brutality and police killings was a central theme focused upon by almost all of the speakers. This year, the Minister also broadened his message and comments to the subjects of abortion, divine retribution, economics, boycotting, politics, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X (his former mentor and leader). Indeed, unlike 1995, this gathering was much broader, inclusive and tailored to send the message to those in positions of power.
— ™ (@Haaaaaaan_) October 11, 2015
There were numerous speakers of all races, religions and cultures, as well as many more gathered yesterday who all came with testimonies and personal stories of why there must be something fundamentally and structurally different, something needed to bring forth equal treatment under the law, equal economic opportunities, prison reform, justice and fairness for those who have labored and served America with years of free labor, service and sacrifice.
The Minister also directed his remarks on the need for self-love and respecting women. “You should never call a woman a bitch” and he encouraged the audience to “Get that word out of our language.” This admonition was particularly poignant as numerous high profile celebrities and Hip-Hop Artists were present in the crowd such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Common, Snoop Dogg, Jeezy, J Cole, Doug E. Fresh and others were present (these artists known to be supporters of the Minister and not direct targets of his remarks). Many other notables form Dave Chappelle, Cornell West, Russell Simmons, Kenny Gamble, and our very own L. Londell McMillan were all present. There did not appear to be many members of Congress present and President Obama did not make an appearance.
While the President failed to make an appearance, the President’s men were certainly engaged and on guard. The men of the Fruit of Islam were also on guard. While the event was peaceful and organized, there were some concerns before the rally which resulted in the Capitol Police Chief making alarming and offensive statements against Minister Farrakhan (and Nation of Islam regarding his condemnation of the March) which he later apologized.
Interestingly, not much press coverage published stories on this historic event yesterday. All this week, stay tuned to The Source and www.thesource.com as we reflect on the powerful and peaceful 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March calling for #JusticeOrElse.