Local Organizations Determined to Recapture Energy of Million Man March in Philadelphia
The Greater Philadelphia Local Organizing Committee will host the 16th Anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March on October 7-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where they hope to “re-energize, refocus and redirect the energy that was experienced and determined that day on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.”
According to a press release, Philadelphia was chosen as the spot for the event because of “some 200,000 men, the largest contingent in the nation” at the original march, which was organized by Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan (who will also be in attendance at the anniversary.) The October event will focus on hunger, street violence and political accountability. Organizers say they’ll spotlight recent reports which show Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, represented by Bob Brady, having the second-highest rate of food hardship in the country, and those attending the main event on Sunday the 9th will be asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item for donation.
“The Million Man March was an historic event,” said Kenny Gamble, spokesman for the LOC. “It brought together people from all walks of life; it enlightened and uplifted the people of the African American community. On Oct 9th we will be blessed to come together where people of all nationalities and faiths can again come and share in the wonderful experience of the Day of Atonement.”
In addition to the focus on commemorating the original March, organizers say the pledge Louis Farrakhan urged all black men to take in 1995…
I pledge that from this day forward I will strive to love my brother as I love myself. I, from this day forward, will strive to improve myself spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically and economically for the benefit of myself, my family and my people. I pledge that I will strive to build business, build houses, build hospitals, build factories and enter into international trade for the good of myself, my family and my people.
I pledge that from this day forward I will never raise my hand with a knife or a gun to beat, cut, or shoot any member of my family or any human being except in self-defense. I pledge from this day forward I will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her, for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future. I pledge that from this day forward I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys or little girls for sexual gratification. For I will let them grow in peace to be strong men and women for the future of our people.
I will never again use the `B word’ to describe any female. But particularly my own black sister. I pledge from this day forward that I will not poison my body with drugs or that which is destructive to my health and my well-being. I pledge from this day forward I will support black newspapers, black radio, black television. I will support black artists who clean up their acts to show respect for themselves and respect for their people and respect for the ears of the human family. I will do all of this so help me god.
…has been violated “on every point,” and because of this, “our communities continue to suffer,” said Minister Rodney Mohammad.
It would seem this would be the time and place to commemorate the march and the pledge. Recent statistics from city government show that 84.5 percent of Philadelphia homicides involve a black victim and 84 percent of those arrested for homicides are black. Many have accused recent “flash mob” incidents of being racially motivated, which even Mayor Michael Nutter suggested during a recent speech he gave at his church.
Nationally, the black unemployment rate has soared, with estimates showing 16.7 percent of African-Americans out of work, compared to 9.1 percent of all Americans. These are the worst black employment numbers in 27 years. In addition, 27.4 percent of blacks are said to live in poverty in the United States, which is up even from 2009.
The recent highlighted jobs crisis prompted Rep. Maxine Waters of California to urge President Barack Obama to “treat blacks like Iowans,” in reference to the attention paid to voters in swing states during election season, above all else. Of course, much of Obama’s plans have been blocked by the opposition throughout his term, which some have blamed on racial tensions. This will be discussed at the event, as well.
“The poor and especially people of color are under attack by forces that have been demonstrating their anger about the election of an African American president in the US,” said Joe Certaine, former managing director of the city and LOC member. “They have seized the momentum by pandering to those who relish our economic, social, cultural and political demise. Without an aggressive grass-roots mobilization we cannot even hope to fight back.”