By Angela Wills
Today marks a monumental moment in history that is set to become even more rich as the hours unfold to give way to Minister Farrakhan’s Justice or Else rally. Black men around the globe are meeting on the National Mall of Washington D.C., marking the 20th anniversary of the historic Million Man March, which many aren’t aware was also organized by Minister Farrakhan. According to the Nation of Islam, the Justice or Else meeting calls for equality in justice, and comes during a tumultuous time of protests against police brutality in the African- American community.
The original march was designed to bring attention to the need for black males to stand up and assume responsibility for black neighborhoods and black families. The message was a reoccurring theme that reigned throughout the march, with memorable voices speaking of social change.
Black men from around the world stepped up and agreed to the challenge during the first Million Man March, but many question the impact of the historic march. Was the commitment taken lightly, or has change become evident over the years?
Although its glaringly evident that we’ve still a long way to go, here are some changes that were brought about by the Million Man March 20 years ago.
An Increase in Black Voter Presence
There were up to 150,000 black males to register to vote during the Million Man March. This number doesn’t include those that registered upon their return home. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there was a noticeable increase in the percentage of black votes after the year of the march.
Black Men Became Involved With Their Communities
Keynote speakers on the platform of the Million Man March prompted black men to become active in the growth of their communities. Cities around the world reported that there were several community outreach programs forming with men as the leaders following the march.
Black Men United For A Common Cause
The history of black men coming together has often plagued a mentality of fear among many. Media reports in Washington report that there is an expectation of violence during the 20th anniversary rally. This has authorities on alert; however, the meeting held 20 years ago was a peaceful one. It showed that black brothers could come together on one accord and discuss important matters in a respectful manner.
Inspired More Positive Movements
The Million Man March proved to be a ground breaking platform for other movements that followed. Similar movements sparked in Philadelphia, Chicago and other various locations. These movements all promoted a call to action by minority groups to help failing students and increase father-child interaction.