By Ariele Vaccaro
On October 16, 1995, some two million African-American men marched across the country’s capitol in pursuit of atonement. Exactly twenty years later, on the anniversary of the Million Man March, both men and women of all races, religions, and backgrounds will march through Washington D.C. once again, but with a far different purpose in mind: justice.
Student Minister William Muhammad of the Nation of Islam recalls the Million Man March.
“We had quite a good representation from Milwaukee and even the Wisconsin area,” said Muhammad.
The march was part of a “stop the killing” tour created and lead by Nation of Islam head, Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. During the early 1990’s Farrakhan’s tour stopped in Milwaukee. There, he visited with Milwaukee community leaders and did his best to reach out to Black men and encourage them to take part in the march. According to Muhammad, Farrakhan did this “out of concern for the self-destructive activity that Black men were involved in.”
Farrakhan’s concern was met with immense support. Rather than the one million men he had aimed to bring to the capital, he gained the interest of some two million. Even Barack Obama attended that October day, long before his presidency.
There, Farrakhan and his minsters were able to convince about a million people to register to vote and to take part in their local Urban League and NAACP branches.
Twenty years later, Farrakhan is calling upon those who attended the march, their families, and anyone else who would like to follow him back to Washington D.C.. This time, however, their trip will be a call for justice from U.S. government and American society.
The title of the march: 10/10/15, Justice or Else.
“We’re at a point where history has met with circumstances and we can no longer tolerate the situation that we’re in,” said Muhammad.
During this observance, Muhammad said that Farrakhan plans to address an “increase of hostility” toward minorities within the justice system and other entities.
“I hope that it awakens the consciousness of the people of America,” said Muhammad.
On Thursday July 23, organizers will meet to discuss logistics of the event. Muhammad encourages everyone to get involved with the effort. On Aug. 12 to Aug. 14, Farrakhan will stop in Milwaukee to speak to community leaders.
“It’s not a Nation of Islam effort alone,” said Muhammad. “It’s a community effort.”
For more information regarding Justice or Else and the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, visit www.mosque3.org.