Washington leaders mobilize for March (FCN, 01-26-2005)
ATLANTA (FinalCall.com) – The Black Mecca of political, spiritual and educational leadership joined other national organizations and local groups around the country by endorsing the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man MarchTM in a weekend of events March 18-21.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan traversed the city speaking to business, civic, clergy and elected political leaders, creating unity that has never been in the Black community. Joining them to round off the growing support for this historic event is the city’s hip hop community, featuring Ludacris and Outkast’s Big Boi.
These groups, individuals and organizations joined the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women, the United Pentecostal Churches of Christ, the New Black Panther Party, Bishop Vashti McKenzie and the AME Church, and Rev. Walter Faunteroy’s National Black Leadership Roundtable as supporters of the march.
“Bishop Vashti Mckenzie supports the march; Tavis Smiley supports the march,” said Minister Farrakhan, “Tom Joyner, Ron Walters, Ron Daniels, and the Urban League’s Marc Morial support the march.”
Forging a new reality
Minister Farrakhan spoke March 18 at the landmark Atlanta Life and Insurance building to nearly 75 business, civic and elected political officials of the surrounding areas. The meeting was hosted by State Representative Tyrone Brooks (who was designated as the state coordinator for the commemoration of the Million Man MarchTM) and Ron Brown, the president of Atlanta Life.
“We have more Black politicians than ever, with less power,” he told the audience. “Let’s plan how to become politically powerful. We have a chance today with immortality.”
He expressed that the time is ripe for the unity of our people, which is witnessed in the overwhelming supportive response that a broad spectrum of leaders and organizations–some who opposed the Million Man MarchTM in 1995–are now displaying to the call to commemorate that historic march 10 years later.
“This time around we’re not calling for men; we’re calling for us as a family. All around the world women are abused,” explained the Minister. “No society has properly recognized the female. In this mobilization, we want to show the world our women right by our side, ready to take their place.”
He added, “Not women ready to shake their finery, ready to attract the lower instincts of men; women not ready to shake, but ready to shake things up with their thoughts.”
He pointed out to the group of leaders that our people needed them desperately.
“Our people are dying. If we don’t do something quick, our people won’t last another 20 years. We’re headed for destruction,” he warned, stressing that we have been programmed for extinction as a people.
“The brightest and best of our people are needed. The masses cannot go anywhere unless those of us, who have the intelligence and skill, structure us to move as a unit,” he further explained in his criticism of the divisions among class and income that have been established and reinforced by the institutions of this world. After outlining the organization and contributions that each facet of society’s leaders should structure–from educators to health care experts, economists to religious leaders, entertainment artists to political movers and shakers, he insisted that, “If we put our people on the road of independence, we will become the mothers and fathers of a new reality.”
The concern of the cloth
At the monthly meeting of the Concerned Black Clergy (CBC) on March 21, the regular agenda included a special presentation by Minister Farrakhan on the Million Man MarchTM anniversary.
“We totally embrace and are on board with the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man MarchTM. We’ve had the privilege for accountability purposes of having members of our board of directors on the national board of directors for the Million Man MarchTM,” said CBC President Dariell Elligan. “CBC will work on the local basis to make sure we organize, and not agonize, and make the Million Man MarchTM effective, efficient, making it whereby we are a witness to the world what the Lord is going to do in healing our land.”
He added, “It is such a Divine moment where the Lord is bringing us together regardless of our different theological backgrounds; we do have something in common.”
That commonality was the focus of Minister Farrakhan’s message of unity.
“We’re not going to get caught up in labels and be less intelligent than a wino, because the wino does not care what the label says, he cares about the contents in the bottle,” Minister Farrakhan taught. “I do not want to speak division. I am not going to deal with labels, but rather deal with the principles that undergird labels, because I am as much a Christian as I am a Muslim and I am as much a Jew as I am a Muslim.”
The audience was the congregation and Minister Farrakhan was a guest pastor. The only thing missing was the church choir singing “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” The people said “amen” to this Muslim minister like they were saying “amen” on Sunday morning. They raised their hand as witness bearers to the things he said, clapped until their hands hurt and stood up to shout, “Praise the Lord!”
The Minister implored the group to see their value in this world and the value of the mission God has in store for them.
“Over there, White Christians, White Muslims and White Jews are killing each other,” the international peacemaker pointed out, referencing the conflicts in the Middle East. “Over here, Black Christians, Black Muslims and Black Hebrews have only love for one another. The man who brought you the religion are not good examples of what they brought.”
“We are better examples of Christianity, we are better examples of Muslims than the Arabs who brought us the religion and we are better examples of Judaism. So what is this telling you?” he asked the audience. “The scepter is passing out of the hand of those who have made mockery of it.”
He added, “Do you want to accept the position God wants you to have?”
The audience was a great representation of Atlanta’s faith community. It included Rev. Albert Love, Pastor of Boat Rock Baptist Church; Joe Beazley, longtime Atlanta activist; Rev. Dr. Gerald Burley, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church; CBC immediate past president Rev. Tim McDonald of First Iconium; and the well known and revered Rev. Dr. Barbara King of Hillside Chapel and Truth Center.
On a positive note
The weekend culminated with a private three-hour meeting of artists of the city’s hip hop community and Minister Farrakhan in his hotel suite, wherein they all agreed to support the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man MarchTM.
“You are leaders; America’s youth listens to your music and follows you,” the Minister told his captive audience. The Minister was setting the stage for an evening of spiritual enlightenment as he spoke to Big Boi from Outkast, Too Short, Ludacris, Killer Mike, Courtney “Bear” Sills and Bishop of Crunk.
In a very personal and eye-opening session with his guests, Minister Farrakhan expressed the need for these leaders of the music community to become much more conscious of the music they write and the power they have over their audience.
“You are powerful,” he told his guests, and as leaders in the music industry, they have a responsibility to the Black community, they were told. “Write songs and plays that trigger consciousness,” he advised, “but change them by degrees.”
He made an analogy to sunrise and sunset and the corresponding degrees of light. The Minister cautioned them not to make irrational moves that could jeopardize their standing in the entertainment industry and cause them to lose money.
All eyes filled with tears of joy as he related how they can all be used as instruments to promote positive change in the condition of Black people. In urging the artists to find ways to promote positive messages, Minister Farrakhan shared a personal story about his song, “A White Man’s Heaven is a Black Man’s Hell,” which was based on the column that Minister Malcolm X wrote entitled the same name.
The Minister’s counsel extended to the business side of their talent, as he cautioned them to use their money with wisdom. “Save your diamonds; diamonds have value,” he said. “Invest in gold, platinum and land. The dollar is sinking. Protect your wealth.”
Ademah Muhammad and Dora Muhammad contributed to this article.