The death of Derrion Albert, a young man with a promising future, has stunned the city of Chicago and the nation. Captured via cell phone video, the violent assault that took the life of a good young man has likely been witnessed by thousands of people. An outpouring of grief, sadness and even a sense of hopelessness has gripped many in the city and Black and Brown neighborhoods around the country.
In the midst of such great pain and unable to see a way out of violence that has taken so many lives so many times, and in so many places, a cry has arisen for something to be done. The call by responsible Black leaders for the National Guard to patrol streets in America is evidence they are at their wits end, overwhelmed by what appears to be an intractable problem and unrelenting crisis.
With all due respect and with an appreciation for the deep pain that senseless deaths bring, we urge a different approach and emphatically argue it is not the National Guard that is needed, but the time demands that enlightened Black men stand up and bring order and peace to their communities.
“This young man today allows us to see the horror of the senseless violence even more so than we have seen in the past and his death is a call to action,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in brief but powerful words spoken at the Oct. 3 funeral for the 16-year-old honor student.
It has been 14 years since the historic Million Man March that drew some two million men to Washington, D.C., to take a pledge and make a solemn promise to atone for failures, to reconcile with families and one another and to accept responsibility for their communities. That historic day grew out of a divine insight into the conditions facing Black men at a time when there were again calls for an outside occupation force to restore order in the ghettos of America.
Black men in America, it is time to rise to the occasion once again and pick up the banner of the Million Man March. As Min. Farrakhan warned, when youth are seen as unsalvageable, the door is opened to destruction and death for the youth and those convinced of the youths’ impending doom.
Stand up. Get involved. Black man your community needs you; we cannot afford for you to reject this call.
The call by Min. Farrakhan for a Million Man March was scoffed at and mocked, but a decade of seed sowing through his Stop the Killing Tours meant he would reap the fruits of his work and harvest participation through a series of pre-march Men Only Meetings. The result was the largest public gathering in U.S. history, a gathering that had a major social, political and economic impact on Black America and the country.
The Minister’s success on that day–despite naysayers, doubters, fierce opposition and attacks–was rooted in firm and active faith, the love of his people and a love for freedom, justice and equality. Nothing is impossible for man and a people who have faith and are willing to work their faith in accord with divine timing.
The track record of Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam is a track record of taking on huge challenges and moving undaunted to work for success. This movement is nearly 80-years-old in America, and while not perfect, the Nation of Islam is a community worthy of study. The problems of violence, assaults, robberies, rapes and savagery found in the greater society are much less among us and the discovery of such crimes bring expressions of shock because of our teaching and training.
The word and the way of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad have had a civilizing affect on us–those the world had written off in many cases as unsalvageable and irretrievable. Min. Malcolm X, the student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, was written off as a thug, a gangster, as a lost soul that would never be redeemed. But through Mr. Muhammad’s word and way, Malcolm was redeemed and stands as a model for reform looked to by many people around the world. The “Malcolm Experience,” however, is not just a tale from yesterday. Twenty-years-ago Freeway Ricky Ross, a young Black drug kingpin who unknowingly plied the crack cocaine trade along the West Coast with CIA help, was sentenced to prison. He is out now and credits the wisdom and the words of Min. Farrakhan with turning his life around. The “real” Ricky Ross now wants to step forward and help others avoid the pitfalls of his life.
Many of the men and women in the Nation of Islam did not come out of a heavenly experience in their lives but rose out of a hellish condition to a higher level of consciousness. Young men, in particular, are hearing and responding to the Minister’s words and turning their lives around. Many of these young men were gang bangers and troublemakers before they were touched by the light of Islam. The Nation of Islam remains respected for its work in the jails and prisons of America and as a refuge where the emphasis is not on where you are from, but where you are trying to go.
It is time now for Minister Farrakhan to be allowed to do his redemptive work inside America and for the Nation of Islam to be free of the lies and slander designed to keep people away from us. Let us help you to solve a problem that is vexing the United States of America, after all it was Joseph who helped pharaoh with his troubling dreams. Mr. Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam, can help America out of this nightmare of violence and senseless loss of life.
Community mourns death of Derrion Albert (FCN, 10-05-2009)
No discipline, no love (FCN/Minister Louis Farrakhan)