WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – It is the substance of things hoped for by generations of oppressed Black people in America. It is a tangible force that touched all those present yearning for the uplift of our communities. It is a moment that answered prayers in recognition of a greater common cause. It is the unity of Black leadership across ideological lines manifested in a coalition formed to launch the Millions More Movement. It is the Power of One.
For the standing-room capacity audience that filled the grand ballroom of the National Press Club May 2 to attend the national kick off for the commemoration plans for the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March, the press conference delivered more than a message–it delivered the fulfillment of Black leaders standing together for the people despite the crafty calls for their division by those who prosper from our disunity. The press conference, which was broadcasted live on C-SPAN, officially announced the evolution of the historic 1995 Million Man March into a mass mobilization movement.
Even up to that morning, several hours before the 10 a.m. meeting was scheduled to begin, opposing forces to the rise of the Black community came forward on the front page of the website of the ADL to issue a so-called “letter to the leaders” who support the Millions More Movement, urging them to step away from the coalition.
However, this morning, our leaders listened to a different rhythm–one of harmony and patience–to say that they are committed to mobilize our people to maximize our power.
“God has called us to this moment. By whatever name you call Him, we could not be in here together if He had not called us. He called us to serve His purpose, not only to free our people from their suffering,” Minister Farrakhan said in his remarks concluding the platform of speakers. “We called it a Millions More Movement. We already had millions at the Mall for the Million Man March. Our Sisters had millions in Philadelphia for the Million Women March. Our youth organizers in New York and Atlanta had hundreds of thousands for the Million Youth March and the Million Youth Movement.
“Millions more,” he explained, “means that we are reaching for the millions who carry the rich on their backs. Millions more means we intend to create a tsunami, because the tsunami in Asia started at the bottom of the ocean–and the rich live from the poor, but the poor have no advocates.”
Joining with the international peacemaker on the Millions More Movement platform were Rev. Willie Wilson, senior pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church and national director for the Commemoration; Dr. Conrad Worrill of the National Black United Front; Rev. Jesse Jackson of Rainbow/PUSH Coaltion; Dr. Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women; Dr. Maulana Karenga of US, founder of Kwanzaa; Councilmember Marion Barry, former D.C. mayor and his wife, Cora Masters Barry; current D.C. mayor Anthony Williams; Author/columnist Dr. Julianne Malveaux; Rev. Dr. Barbara Skinner of the Skinner Leadership Institute; Rev. Al Sharpton, former Democratic presidential candidate; Nation of Islam Chief of Staff Leonard Farrakhan; Minister Benjamin Chavis Muhammad of the Hip Hop Action Network and former national director of the Million Man March and the Million Family March; and Fredricka Bey of Women in Support of the Million Man March.
Letters of support were sent by three illustrious women, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou and Bishop Vashti Mckenzie, the first female bishop in the AME Church. Co-conveners of the Commemoration in the audience included Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party; Phile Chionesu of the Million Woman March; Dr. Leonard Jeffries of City University in New York; Dr. Ron Daniels of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Dr. Ron Walters and singer/songwriter Erykah Badu, who was brought to the podium by Min. Ben to share a few words.
In his opening of the program, Rev. Wilson heralded the moment launching the Millions More Movement as monumental, unprecedented, historical, dynamic, powerful and beautiful.
“Ten years ago, more than one million African American men peacefully assembled on the national Mall to make an international statement of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility,” Rev. Wilson recalled. “The Million Man March not only served as an international wake-up call, it also spawned the Million Woman, Million Family, Million Moms, Million Youth, Million Workers and Million Reparations marches in an unprecedented succession of grassroots calls for action.”
Although these marches were important, historical footnotes, he noted, “the conditions affecting millions of poor and distressed communities around the nation still have not improved and, in far too many instances, people remain even worse off than they were before.”
Marches are not movements, he continued. “What we need is a movement,” he insisted. “We need an ongoing, sustained, consistent, concerted, divinely inspired movement to uplift the poorest and the most downtrodden among us.”
The Millions More Movement will come to D.C. for a weekend of events Oct. 14-16. On Friday, Oct. 14, a Day of Absence will be observed. All people who can are asked to not go to work, school, businesses and sports and entertainment venues for this one day. It should be a day to look inward and focus on the meaning of the Millions More Movement and the necessity of spiritual and ethical grounding in our families, communities and organizations.
A mass assembly at the National Mall will be held on the following day, officially opening the Movement at 10 a.m., with pre-event activities as early as 6 a.m. A diverse group of national and international leaders will outline the significance and meaning of the Millions More Movement and lay the foundation for individual and organizations activities that will take the energy, spirit and intent of the day back to communities where the real work of the movement will be done.
On Sunday, Oct. 16, services of worship throughout the city will be observed, dedicated to spiritual renewal and revitalization. Early Sunday evening, a mass Unity Interfaith, Interdenominational Service will be held to set the tone and ignite the fire and spiritual energy of the movement.
“On behalf of the residents of our city, I am honored to share in the spirit of the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March,” shared Mayor Anthony Williams during the press conference. As host mayor for the Commemoration, he said that he is looking forward to the Millions More Movement in October, which he expects to be “one of, if not the, largest event ever to take place” in the city.
What will make this Commemoration so large is that men, women and children will be attending this time–making the Movement more reflective of the condition of our people.
“Every issue that we talk about that African American men face, African American women and children face as well,” Dr. Julianne Malveaux stressed to the audience. “There is a war on Black people. You cannot fight a war if you dismantle half of the army. So, the army is here, united, because Minister Farrakhan had the vision,” she observed.
“We realize, again, that we must come forward every day and declare our commitment to assume a new and expanded responsibility to sustain a free and empowered community, a just and good society and a good and sustainable world,” declared Dr.. Maulana Karenga in a poetic, powerful call for action. “We must be aware that we make this commitment in an era in which this is needed as never before and in which we cannot morally choose otherwise. I call on you to realize this means standing up, standing together as men and women, standing in practice and in principle, consciousness and commitment, standing together in harmony and unity as men and brothers, as women and sisters, and partners in loving struggle.”
(More coverage, next issue.)
To become a registered supporter of the Millions More Movement, visit the official website: http://www.millionsmoremovement.com.