BEYOND THE MILLION MAN MARCH AND THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill ( January 6, 2005)
Following the success of the Million Man March on October 16, 1995 in Washington, D. C., I wrote the following article. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have called for the commemoration of this momentous event. As organizers, activists, and scholars we think that it is important to, once again, roll up our sleeves, get into the trenches, and begin to do the necessary mobilization work required to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March.
The ideas and organizing projects that we called for beyond the Million Man March I n1995 are still issues we are working on today. We will continue to lift up and organize around these issues as we prepare to participate in this 10th anniversary commemoration. Therefore, we are prepared to do our part in making this project a significant organizing event in the history of our people.
The African Community throughout the world was greatly inspired by the more than two million Black men who participate who participated in the Million Man March on October 16, 1995. Everywhere that I have traveled and everyone that I have spoken with, since the march, is still focused on this tremendous impact. The more people discuss their experiences in participating in the march, the more it becomes obvious that the spirit of the Million Man March will live in the hearts and minds of African people for eternity.
The question now becomes, “What do we do with this great mobilization effort as we begin to settle down in our local communities throughout the United States?” In other words, “What is the next step beyond the Million Man March?”
As Chairman of the National Black United Front / NBUF, and as a national Million Man March organizer, through the National Million Man March Organizing Committee, I offer the following suggestions for our continued organizing beyond the march.
First, it is imperative that we keep the coalitional aspect of the march alive at both the local and national levels. That is, the Local Organizing Committees that were established in more than four hundred cities should remain intact as a vehicle that now begins addressing the variety of issues that impact on local African American communities throughout the United States.
Secondly, the National Million Man March Organizing Committee should re–direct its energies into helping to build the leadership collective of the National African American Leadership Summit. In this connection, we will continue to expand the work of the National Black United Front / NBUF.
As I have indicated in previous articles, we must not forget that we are still struggling for the acquisition of Black Power and the Mission Statement of the march (which is the official march document) gives us some direction for our continued quest for Black Power and independence.
Again, credit must be given to Dr. Maulana Karenga for not only assembling the material, but actually writing the Mission Statement.
The Mission Statement was published by Sankore Press, Third World Press, and the FCN Publishing Company that had the collective input of Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Ron Daniels, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Mawina Kouyate, Bob Law, Haki Madhubuti, Leonard Muhammad, Dr. Imari Obadele, Rev. Frank Reid, Rev. Willie Wilson, myself, and a host of other movement scholars, activists, and organizers.
In the Mission Statement, we said, “The Million Man March and Day of Absence can only have lasting value if we continue to work and struggle beyond this day. Thus our challenge is to take the spirit of this day, the process of mobilization, and the possibilities of organization and turn them into on–going structures and practices directed toward our liberation and flourishing as a people.”
We offered some of the following ideas for continued organizing beyond the march:
• the follow-up development of an expanded Black political agenda and the holding
of a Black Political Convention to forge this agenda for progressive political change;
• a massive and on-going voter registration of Black people as independents; using our
vote to insist and insure that candidates address the Black agenda; and creating and
sustaining a progressive independent political movement;
• the on-going struggle for reparations in the fullest sense, that is to say, public
admission, apology and recognition of the Holocaust of African Enslavement and
appropriate compensation by the government; and support of the Conyers Reparations
Bill on the Holocaust;
• the continuing struggle against police abuse, government suppression, violations of
civil and human rights and the industrialization of prisoners; and in support for the
freedom of all political prisoners, prisoners’ rights, and their efforts to transform
themselves into worthy members of the community;
• continuing and expanding our support for African Centered independent schools
through joining their boards, enrolling our children, being concerned and active parents,
donating time, services and monies to them and working in various other ways to insure
that they provide the highest level of culturally–rooted education;
• strengthening and supporting organizations and institutions of the Black community
concerned with the uplifting and liberation of our people by joining as families and
persons, volunteering service, giving donations, and providing and insisting on the best
Beyond the Million Man March we are compelled to implement these ideas and many, many more. We now have the power of our spirit to accomplish all that we collectively decide must be done if we get organized and continue to cooperate with each other.
We owe it to our ancestors and those yet to be born to use this moment in history to heighten our struggle for the liberation of African people as we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March!
National Black United Front (NBUF)