Rekindling the Spirit of the Million Man March

Jehron Muhammad | 9/28/2011, 11:29 a.m.
Philadelphia prepares to host 16th anniversary weekend focused on hunger, violence and politics...

Philadelphia prepares to host 16th anniversary weekend focused on hunger, violence and politics

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has chosen this city as the host site for the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March. This year's celebration (Oct. 7-9) is being called the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March weekend.

Activities will include a city-wide Jummah congregational prayer service (Friday) a reception (Friday), so Min. Farrakhan can thank those who participated in Philadelphia's contribution to the Million Man March in 1995 and those assisting in organizing the 16th anniversary celebration.

Activities also will include a Saturday, Oct. 8, leadership forum with Min Farrakhan, a presentation by the Nation of Islam Research Group and a food drive to bring light to Philadelphia's severe hunger problem and a major address by Min. Farrakhan Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Philadelphia Civic Center.

The food drive will also coincide with the Minister's lecture as the event's local organizing committee is asking each of the expected audience of 17,000 to bring a non-perishable food item to the venue.

The 1995 march was the largest gathering in U.S. history. The significance of the march was increased because the two million plus participants that gathered in Washington D.C. were men. Women were asked to stay at home and offer encouragement, as Black men came to D.C. to recommitment themselves to their families and to their communities.

During a Sept. 14 press conference hosted by the Philadelphia local organizing committee, Nation of Islam Student Minister Rodney Muhammad opened by saying the weekend event is "designed to reignite and ... reenergize ... the spirit of the Million Man March."

Music mogul and chair of Universal Communities, Kenny Gamble, chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, emphasized the importance of people of all colors getting involved in weekend events.

Asked about weekend activities, the former managing director of the city of Philadelphia and the events operations person Joe Certaine said, Min. Farrakhan would participate in a "leadership meeting that focuses on young people." During the three-hour session the Minister will "in depth" go over issues that affect the everyday lives of youth, he said. "An action plan would be produced as a part of our activity moving forward," Certaine added.

After the press conference, during an exclusive interview with The Final Call, Certaine described the weekend focus on three themes: street violence, hunger and political accountability:

Concerning street violence: "We know that we must work together in our communities to combat the escalating violence that stifles the peace and stability required for families to grow and prosper in our neighborhoods.

"Philadelphia has an array of organizations that are trying to combat street violence. Some have been around for decades. In many cases, the organizations all compete for some of the same money sparingly doled out by local, state and federal agencies or private foundations. They also compete for support from the elected officials, who either endorse or discount the individual organization's efforts, based upon whether or not that organization is aligned with a specific politicians.