By Sheilah Belle
TBR — Washington, D.C. – On Saturday morning, Washington, D.C. became the host for one of the largest gatherings of Blacks in twenty years. With the sound of beating drums, welcoming guests onto the National Mall, it was truly a sight to behold as people trickled in and later poured onto the Mall of our Nations Capitol to hear words of Hope and Encouragement as they came to remember the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.
The weather was simply perfect, with crisp Fall temperatures and an occasional cloud floating by as the crowd started gathering, some with signs in their hands, as early as 6am, for the main event, “Justice or Else” that was slated to start at 10am.
The “Justice or Else” rally convened by the Nation of Islam’s controversial leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, was also opened to all Faiths, who were welcomed to talk about their Faith and their most concerning issues and many of them did.
Among the guest speakers was Pastor Jamal Bryant, who made it clear, that Jesus Christ was the head of his life and reminded those in the crowd of that as well. He addressed concerning issues and demanded justice for our youth as well. However there were some Christian Ministers, who were given the opportunity to speak, and while they addressed crucial issues, as they came to their closing, they recognized the most High, but stopped short of saying the name of “Jesus Christ.” For many Christians in attendance showing their support for Justice in our country, this was a huge disappointment and even shocking…to see others and Native Indians, speaking highly of their Faith, but for many of the Christian Ministers, they buckled and did not recognize Jesus Christ! Later in the evening, Pastor Bryant brought up the same issue on his Periscope and said, “I just don’t understand it.”
… there were some Christian Ministers, who were also
given the opportunity to speak, and while they all addressed crucial issues, as they came to a close, they recognized the most High,
but stopped short of saying the name of “Jesus Christ.”
Rev. Willie Wilson, one of the guest speakers, also made it clear, why the march was taking place.
“We are here to demand Justice and we demand Justice now.
We are diverse, we are different, yet we are determined to demand an end to racism, oppression and discrimination that we have continued to face in this country.
We are not here to disrespect anyone but to respect ourselves.
We are not here to offend anyone, but to defend ourselves.
We are not here to hurt anybody, but we are here to help ourselves.
We are here today to answer the question of whether we will demand justice or whether we will continue to be socially, economically, psychologically, physically and spiritually oppressed.”
The continued police brutality, the lives of young Black men being taken unjustifiably and the focus on the deaths of hundreds of unarmed Black men and boys, since the shootings of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida and 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri were also hot items.
The string of back to back Black Males being gun down and simply harassed by Police was also addressed, with a demand for Justice and for a demand for it to STOP NOW!
The original march back on Oct. 16, 1995, brought between 400,000 to 800,000 men to Washington, D.C. with a pledge to improve their lives, their families and their communities. Women, whites and other minorities were not invited to the original march, however on Saturday, everyone from all ethnic communities were invited.
The question that now remains, while Saturday’s march was an event, what happens next? A Movement? Justice? Or Else?