EXCLUSIVE: Why The Million Man March Was Just As Much For Healing As It Was For Justice

Million Man March 2015

It was the morning of October 10th, 2015. It felt the same as most weekends I had to work — tough getting out of bed on a Saturday when you know you won’t see it again all day. But today wasn’t like any other working Saturday. It was the second coming of The Million Man March. I was 11 when the first Million Man March came to DC. Memories of 20 years ago lingered in my thoughts as I walked to the Metro train on that brisk weekend morning. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts, I almost missed the train.

Million Man March 2015

There were only black men at the train station that morning, young and old, frat men, Afro centric, backpackers and hustlers all with one destination. I spoke to all of the men at the train station. It was a humble form of respect, a way we acknowledged decades of the same plight, a simple handshake said it all. The train was quiet, an old couple mumbled through a conversation that only they could understand.

All I could think about was the homage I took when I was 11 and how I was taking that same journey 20 years later. I was grown now. I had experienced the plight in my heart, the frustrations that came with being a black man in America. When I was 11, I was happy to be with my father. I didn’t know enough to ask myself why I am going to the Million Man March?

The question pierced my thoughts as if lightening had struck a tree. Why am I going to another March? I’ve done this before. I did this when I was 11 and it obviously didn’t change much.

Million Man March 2015

Then I thought of those hand shakes with the men at the train station and how proud it made me feel. Thats when it came to me, the reason to justify in my heart why I was going to the March. Hope.

I needed to feel not only the pain of the ones who shared my plight, but also the pride of the people who saw my hope. We had a connection with everyone there and that’s what I needed in my soul.

A young black woman sat across from me one the train. She wore an African head dress and a shirt that was straight out of a Spike Lee movie. I followed the black crowd to the National Mall. There was no need for Google Maps, we all knew where we were going, but we didn’t all know why. So I decided to make it a mission of mine to find out why people came to the March.

Million Man March 2015

All over the mall were people having conversations, sharing their opinions, and also sharing their solutions to the problems in their respective communities. People tell the stories, they just need a megaphone and my job was to be their loudspeaker. That was my mission for the day, giving a voice to the voiceless, and a platform for the disenfranchised.

Originally From: NewsOne

 

Russell Simmons Gets BET Hip-Hop Awards Date Moved In Honor Of Million Man March

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Source: getty / Getty


Russell Simmons made an important call to BET to persuade them to move the date of the BET Hip-Hop Awards, and they have agreed.

The hip-hop mogul tried to get the network to move the awards show from airing on the original October 10th date in honor of “Justice or Else,” which is the anniversary of the Million Man March.

A source revealed to AllHipHop:

“Russell Simmons made a high level call to a BET executive respectfully requesting a date change due to “Justice Or Else” and BET mutually obliged and changed the date to October 9th.”

The march has been heavily promoted by Minister Louis Farrakhan, who has involved several big hip-hop names, including Eminem, in the events.

SOURCE: AllHipHop | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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Million Man March Took Place On Washington’s National Mall On This Day In 1995

Million Man March

The Million Man March (pictured throughout), one of the most moving and emotional moments ever in African-American history, took place on the grounds of the National Mall on this day in 1995. The symbolic importance and cultural impact of the huge gathering signified a shift in the attention on issues that plagued urban environs and minorities. The National African American Leadership Summit and the Nation of Islam worked in tandem alongside local chapters of the NAACP to make the March a reality.

SEE ALSO: Iconic Comedian, Entertainer Redd Foxx Passed Away On This Date In 1991

At the time, African-American leaders were moved to act, when in 1994, the Republican Party gained control of Congress during President Bill Clinton’s first term in office. Feeling in some way that policy matters focused on the concerns of Blacks were lacking, the leaders of the time sought to be heard and become part of the national agenda. Much like today, unemployment and poverty disproportionately affected Blacks in comparison to poor Whites, sparking Rev. Jesse Jackson to address several issues in front of the House of Representatives.

The rate of arrests of Black men, drug use among African Americans, environmental hazards, and other societal ills were all on the table and the organizers of the March boldly declared war against the negative downturn. In addition, racial tensions in the country were high, with the highly publicized O.J. Simpson not-guilty verdict coming just two weeks before.

Consequently, Dr. Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, the national director of the March, used his background as a champion for African-American rights to connect groups with one another for the March. The Million Man March was a call for men of their respective communities to gather together and shift the tide for African Americans of either gender.

Million Man March

Men and leaders of all faiths and political ideologies saw the importance of banding together for the March. Further, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called October 16 “a day of atonement.”

The March began at 6 a.m., with busloads of attendees (pictured above) coming from all over the country and even around the world. Community leaders, pastors, elected officials, and other public figures made up a long list of speakers who spoke powerful words to the reported 1.5-million persons who were there.

Watch footage of the Million Man March here starting at 4:29:

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Maya Angelou, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King III were among the more notable speakers of the day. Min. Farrakhan delivered the blistering closing speech, challenging the men in the crowd to embrace and honor one another. In one particularly moving moment, men from all walks of life who didn’t know one another were tearfully hugging, vowing to support the other.

Million Man March

Seventeen years later, the aims of the March are still relevant, especially since the jobless rate and health disparities for Black people are still hot issues. No matter which side of the aisle a person stood on, and regardless of one’s spiritual calling, the Million Man March left a necessary mark in the minds of many, and hopefully, another showing of solidarity of that sort will occur in the near future.

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