Hundreds from the greater Pittsburgh Black community are expected to make the trip to Washington, DC this weekend for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.
Minister Victor Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque 22 in Wilkinsburg is going with 50 people from his congregation, along with two other buses holding 55 passengers each.
Reverend Rodney Lyde from Baptist Temple Church in Homewood, McKeesport community activist Curtis Harper, a group from Washington, PA and the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing are each planning to take a bus down to the event.
Similar to 20 years ago, the call to action was made at the beginning of this year by the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), Minister Louis Farrakhan, marking the 20th anniversary of the original Million Man March from 1995.
The groups from Pittsburgh will take part by joining in the gathering that challenges Washington to make room for social action on behalf of minorities. “Many are angry because their lives have been devalued by the rich and powerful,” Min. Farrakhan said in NOI’s promotional video for the march.
Themed “Justice or Else,” the 2015 march has drastically transitioned from erasing negative racial stereotypes against Black men and fueling voter registration amongst Blacks.
The movement now recognizes the economic inequality amongst minorities, the achievement gap between Blacks and Whites and the slew of killings of unarmed blacks and other mistreatment by law enforcement.
Wilkinsburg Muhammad Mosque 22’s Min. Muhammad said, “Our focus is no longer narrow. It calls Black men to responsibility as well as the Native Americans and Latinos threatened with being removed from this country, the women who aren’t receiving fair wages and the veterans that went to war in the name of Allah and don’t received the benefits that were promised to them at the time they signed up.”
Min. Muhammad said that the objective of the march is “Call people back to the number one issue plaguing our community, which is justice. We intend to put a demand for justice back in the proper forum to be heard at the United States Congress where they make laws.”
Minister Muhammad stressed the need for the US government to have a proper response to the call of the Black community. “We want the same rights as other US citizens, so we won’t feel the scales are tilted away from our community,” he said.
The 2015 march is different because it isn’t about one particular group or denomination. Min. Muhammad said that it bridges the gap between nationalists, Muslims, Christians and other faith backgrounds to work for the greater good.
The minister said he is not only anxious to see the American government’s response to the multitude of minorities in unity, but that he’s also interested in the media’s portrayal of the event. “White media kept this out of the press yet they covered the Pope. They won’t cover Minister Farrakhan, yet people have still responded with the lack of mainstream media coverage,” he said.
Minister Muhammad said that the Million Man March is the only event of this magnitude that is receiving no money from corporate sponsorship.
The minister said that Pittsburgh’s Black community is in “bad shape,” and it should welcome representatives from a grassroots initiative geared to promote programmatic change like the Million Man March.
This year’s march should attract a larger crowd than the 1995 crowd which was credited at 850,000 participants. The difference between then and now: Social Media.
With the wave of social injustice and atrocities against Blacks being showed in real time through social media outlets, dissatisfaction in the Black community is expected to raise the attendance numbers.
“Justice or Else” the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, will take place Saturday Oct. 10, at the Washington Mall 900 Ohio Dr SW, 20024.
For more info call: 773-324-6000 or visit http://www.noi.com
Samson X Horne is a freelance journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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