20th anniversary of the Million Man March draws thousands from all walks of life

October 16, 2015

DE2lWn7Rfs7KoAIhO6Cs2j1wPz7Du9CsEZ2q5UvmZfo,6cPM7QMRK61Apbdr6iDfXUqay_YIm0qIGH-taS23T2w,hdfYDjE9-j-notweZfXUht_ByqA2qH6ZDiCNK9-VMuIOn Saturday, October 10, 2015 Minister Louis Farrakhan called for an end to police violence against African Americans and demanded a halt to black-on-black crime, which kills more inner-city men than all other causes combined. The Nation of Islam leader used the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March at the steps of the U.S. Capitol to condemn the loss of life among blacks. In his two-hour, 20-minute address, Farrakhan cited from the Bible and the Quran, discussed the history of white supremacy, and fired salvos at what he dubbed so-called leaders who will sell out for money. “Our war is on two fronts,” he said. “The inner-city and police wickedness. Preachers, you’re the most important. Take Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy of nonviolence and redirect it to black people. We have to teach to love one another and to love your neighbor.” Farrakhan’s message, delivered under a pale blue sky with streaks of billowy clouds, was, at times, pointed. “It’s hypocritical to say we’re citizens when we’re denied civil rights. . .human rights,” he said. At another point, the 82-yearold who organized the 1995 Million Man March that was dubbed “A Day of Atonement” asked, “What good is life if there is no freedom? What good is life if you see people suffering in tyranny? …What good are we if we don’t prepare our young people to carry the torch of liberation? We will not forsake our duties.” He called on “honest” leadership to be at the forefront of influencing change. “It grieves me that many are willing to take a little money to upgrade their cars, to upgrade their suits, to upgrade their shoes,” he said about black leaders. “All corruption is an enemy to the progression of many.” Many of his points were received with uproarious approval. Among the thousands who descended on Washington—a crowd that was much younger than that of 20 years ago and with more women—was Dorothy Hill of Buffalo, NY. At 80, she jumped into her car and drove 401 miles to Washington, DC, to hear Farrakhan and to feel the spirit of the occasion. Hill’s seven-hour drive reflected her and many African Americans across the country, desperation for change amid recent, high-profile deaths of black males, either at the hands of or in police custody. Beneath the banner “Justice or Else,” this march appeared different from the Oct. 20, 1995, event. The thrust of that occasion involved black men being better husbands, fathers and sons. Despite talk of unity and brotherhood, Saturday’s tone, under the banner of “Justice or Else,” was decidedly more aggressive than at the original gathering. Speaker after speaker demanded that law enforcement be held accountable for what they called unruly and deadly actions against blacks. Hill said she would drive back to Buffalo feeling replenished from her experience and hopeful for change. “There’s a lot to be done, and I hope all the change that was talked about becomes reality,” she said. “It was a powerful day just to be here. Everyone felt like family. I’m glad I came. I can go home knowing I was a part of something very special.”