For veteran and educator Darnell Wiggins, his attendance at the first Million Man March was magical.
“It was amazing to see so many people come together for one cause,” he remembered. “The atmosphere was positive, and it really spoke to the potential we had for growth.”
Twenty years later, on October 16, The Million Man March, sponsored by the Nation of Islam, will converge upon the capitol once more, refocused on the issues that now plague a growing number of minority communities.
Originally, held in Washington, DC in 1995,the Million Man March brought a record number of African-American males together in a united front to pledge their allegiance to the communities that raised them. More than 850,00 people came that Monday, October 16, to the capital, more than twice the number of attendees at the 1963 March on Washington.
In October, the Million Man March will be themed, “Justice or Else,” and reemerges as a call for unification against the surge of social media revealed acts of violence against minority communities.
But some wonder if this year’s march will change anything.
“It can be a good thing,” said Johnston Cleveland, activist. “But only if there is action after.”
Though Cleveland was too young to attend the march in 1995, he doubts its validity today.
“What came of it?” he asked. “If our communities are going to use this to build, to increase our knowledge and our wealth, then fine. But if this is going to be like T.D. Jakes Megafest, with people selling t-shirts, DVDs, and things of the like, then they are no better than the Christians who perpetuate God knowing they are really just making a profit.”
Wiggins agreed somewhat, remembering “high food, high hotel prices, and a lot of vendors who had nothing to do with the movement.”
Doubt aside, there can be no denying that bringing together so many people in one place who could potentially network, build relationships and carry that spirit back home with them is a catalyst for movement.
Want to Go?
What: The Million Man March: Justice or Else!
When: October 16, 2015
Where Washington, DC
For more information/