Why is the national media so quiet as black men, women and children from around the country including here in Mount Vernon, White Plains, Yonkers and Peekskill discuss the preparation for the Million Man March on October 10th, 2015? The energy and passion in the room at Friendship Worship Center here in Mount Vernon was high and people who were apart of the first march 20 years ago were present. It was an amazing experience to see so many different age groups coming together under one roof in order to speak out on issues, logistics and finances. Minster Farrakhan issued a call for Justice or Else and mass mobilization for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall. It was clear from this meeting that people of all religious backgrounds and creeds answered that call. It was quite refreshing being in a room in which people were greeted by “Peace, Brother” and “Hello, My Sister”. Seeing local groups such as Fathers in Support Together (FIST), SNUG and the Mount Vernon Peacekeepers showed me that there were people in Mount Vernon ready to commit to actions that would change the course of decay that has overcome the city of Mount Vernon over the last 20 years.
Hearing stories from the veterans of the bunch who spoke with so much energy about how 20 years ago this March helped them change their lives and their communities around for the better was inspiring. Stories from the meeting included an older gentleman telling us how the march turned his life around and put him on a path to success. Another story spoke about the villages in Antigua coming together and working to become self-sufficient and work together so that they weren’t reliant on the government. These stories and many more were told and they showed how the collective effort of black people had brought great success and pride to those who did not have a clear vision.
Men who had previously took part in the first Million Man March spoke about the mission and how the actions of the movement had reverberated back to their communities. After the Million man March, black adoption rates rose, voter registration increased and a sense of pride was slowly restored in the black community after a decade of drugs and violence had nearly torn it apart. However, there was also a sense of disappointment amongst the elders in the room as they felt that they had failed to pass the baton to my generation.
I have often spoke out (in personal and public spaces) about the lack of bridges between the elders and youth in Mount Vernon and abroad. The gains from the civil rights movement seem to have been brought to a halt in the 80’s and 90’s and much of the work done had been erased. Hearing others share that same viewpoint only reaffirmed my belief that the need for the older generation in our community to share their wisdom with the younger and uplift them is desperately needed in order for us to progress. Mobilization for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March is a great launching pad to create those bridges of wisdom to bring the community together.
Other members in attendance spoke about the lack of support in Westchester from other black communities and the issues that they face. Some spoke out about the case of economic pitfalls that plague our northern communities when it comes to black homeowners. In communities like Ossining black residents were being priced out and we have seen that across the Hudson Valley, the HUD debacle that has carried on for years at the hands of Rob Astorino was fresh in my mind as I heard about these injustices. Also, the lack of outrage from the Mount Vernon community into the death of Raynette Turner was also mentioned and it showed that members in the community were still asleep. One of the goals for the Million Man March is to awaken people to the plight of black people in this century.
If you haven’t noticed the mainstream media is very quiet as hundreds of thousands of people across the country begin to mobilize and make their way towards Washington DC for the Million Man March on October 10th. This article might be the first time you’ve seen any person speak at length about the movement. There appears to be a media blackout going on in regards to the Million man March and it is a shame that in 2015 the words of Malcolm X still ring true when it comes to American Media. Black Westchester is the only media outlet in the county that is covering this issue. As a reader, ask yourself why?
For more information about the Million Man March check out www.justiceorelse.com
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