|Renewing spirit of Million Man March|
|Farrakhan to mark 17th anniversary in Charlotte|
|Published Thursday, October 11, 2012 7:02 am|
Million Man March organizer Louis Farrakhan will be in Charlotte this weekend to challenge Americans to lift themselves as individuals and a nation.
|ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO/DOUG MILLS|
|Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addresses the Million Man March, Monday Oct. 16, 1995 on Capitol Hill. Farrakhan, who will mark the rally's 17th anniversary in Charlotte, proclaimed divine guidance in bringing to Washington the largest assemblage of black Americans since the 1963 March on Washington. Farrakhan's son Mustafa is at left.|
Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will keynote the annual commemoration of the 1995 rally on Oct. 14 at Bojangles’ Coliseum. Doors open at 12 p.m. and the program starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, $35, $50 and $100.
The Million Man March, which took place Oct. 16, 1995, drew more than 1 million black men to Washington, D.C. for a day of atonement and commitment to family and community. Farrakhan challenged participants to break the stereotype of black men by becoming champions of their families and communities.
“The Million Man March helped to eliminate a lot of the perception of that image of black males,” Minister Corey Muhammad, assistant minister of Mosque 36 in Charlotte said at a Tuesday press conference.
Seventeen years after the march, black Americans haven’t paid heed to Farrakhan’s message, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP President Rev. Kojo Nantambu. As a result, African American families and communities still suffer economically and socially.
“It is so unfortunate that we were not steadfast and held on to the plan,” Nantambu said. “We lost sight of the plan, and because of that we have slipped back into a murky darkness where now we have lost our identity, we’ve lost control of our children and our community and we’ve gotten into a place now it’s almost like we don’t know where we’re going.”
German DeCastro, co-chairman of the Hispanic Voter Coalition, said Farrakhan’s message cuts across ethnic and religious barriers.
“As part of the community, we would like to partake with the African American Community in our shared goals which is all the same,” DeCastro said. “We just want justice. We just want equal treatment for everybody.”
The Rev. Dwayne Walker, pastor at Little Rock AME Zion Church and a participant in the 1995 march with his brother and father, agreed.
“What we have in common is we believe homelessness is wrong, that poverty is wrong, that injustice of any sort is wrong and that everyone should be entitled to equal access to everything this country provides,” Walker said. “The things we notice in our community and our society, even in the city of Charlotte are so devastating we can’t allow our slight differences to cause us to become divided at this hour.
“The time is too late to allow differences to separate us,” Walker said. “It’s time for us to come together.”
Nantambu likened Farrakhan to Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale and George Washington as an inspired messenger of freedom.
“They moved the hearts of people to make them come together and do things,” he said. “Those people have a special gift, a special presence, a special message that has been endowed by the almighty Creator for their time.”
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