The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan met with L.A.’s community leaders during his “Justice or Else!” national tour to promote the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, slated for October 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
The June 17 meeting, held at Holman United Methodist Church, was hosted as part of a special Urban Issues Breakfast Forum founded by author and professor, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad.
Nation of islam Western Region Representative Tony Muhammad, Holman’s Senior Pastor Kevin Sauls, California State L.A. Black Studies Professor Dr. Melina Abdullah, Us Organization chair and Professor of Africana Studies at California State University Long Beach Dr. Maulana Karenga, Los Angeles Sentinel publisher Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. fired up the audience before Minister Farrakhan arrived.
A diverse coalition of clergy, grassroots activists, street organization leaders, educators, gang interventionists, homeless activists and entertainers were among the more than 1,500 present.
“This is not a Million Man March. That’s what was! This is a movement of human beings for justice or else,” Minister Farrakhan declared.
He told the gatherers he wasn’t looking for people who are frightened by the “or else” part of his call. “The reason we’re still looking for justice is there never was a threat in your cry for justice,” he said.
The world is in a brand new reality, Minister Farrakhan continued. According to him it’s finished and has come to its natural end.
Bodies rocked from side to side, heads bowed and shook, and arms raised and hands waved in the clergy section, as Minister Farrakhan used scripture after scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ to lay the base for his address.
He explained why humanity has fallen from where God intended it to be and why it must now be raised back to life. He also explained that people must understand what justice really is.
“We’ve been going to Washington a long time, asking for jobs and justice and haven’t gotten either, but a few of us would get an offer,” he said.
He urged attendees to study the last two years of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, his evolutionary and revolutionary development, and why he was really assassinated. It wasn’t because he had a dream in 1963, but because he talked about the power of economic withdrawal in Memphis until the garbage men got justice.
“It was garbage men in Memphis, but it’s the Black man and woman in America today. It’s our Indian, Native American family that’s in pain today. It’s our Latino brothers and sisters that are in pain today. It’s women who can’t get equal pay for equal work that are in pain today,” Minister Farrakhan said.
He listed soldiers fighting unjust wars on the basis of a lie, and Palestinians and Muslims that want to practice their religion and live freely as others who are also in pain and seeking justice.
“We can’t just go to Washington talking about the government when killing is going on in our community,” Minister Farrakhan said.
He challenged individuals and collectives, asking how fairly do family members, businesses, children and neighbors deal with each other.
The community leaders present noted that conditions were ripe in L.A. for the Minister’s visit and his call for justice.
“There’s been one theme throughout our conversations in preparation for today. It is the theme of unity,” Pastor Sauls stated. “We believe that no weapon formed against unity shall prosper, he said.
Pastor Sauls told gatherers in these consequential times, he believes God is calling people forward from uncommon and common ground to find a way to unite like never before. “If we want to go far, far to reach the destiny of justice and equality, then we will have to go together,” he continued.
Dr. Abdullah said the gathering at Holman United Methodist Church was so appropriate because as recognized in the Black Lives Matters movement, spirit will get people through and free.
“We have to pray. We have to summon spirit. We have to summons our ancestors to work through us so that we can topple a system that really is that goliath that’s talked about in the Bible,” Dr. Abdullah said.
“In getting free there’s no one person that’s going to do it for us…It takes all of us…All we have to lose are our chains,” she stated.
Dr. Karenga thanked Minister Farrakhan for calling the community together again. “To those who say we are not at war with anyone, we reply as we did in the 60s: You might not be at war, but you’re in a war,” Dr. Karenga said.
Karenga cited the list of Black boys and girls is being attacked, not only in the streets by the police, as proof.
The war, he noted, is waged in the schools, through the denial of housing and healthcare, through using Blacks as guinea pigs and targets of medical experiments, unemployment and massive imprisonment.
“We cannot in good faith or sound mind or moral consciousness pretend neutrality, feign unawareness or collaborate in our own oppression by remaining silent, being inactive, or playing dead or working against the interest of our people …,” he continued.
In a moment of levity, Sentinel publisher Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. told attendees they were in the place to be, and couldn’t get out. But on a serious note, he said he was honored to be representing the Black press for the historic meeting.
“We are going to amplify and echo this demand on 10-10, October 10, this year in Washington, D.C. for justice or else,” Mr. Bakewell said as the audience erupted into applause.
He said leadership knows when to come, what to do and when to leave, and the Black community has been blessed to have practiced that type of leadership in Minister Farrakhan for the last 50 years, Mr. Bakewell continued.
“He loves all people but he loves Black people first … He comes to talk to the brothers who are a part of gang violence, and he comes to talk to them about loving each other, putting down the gun and picking up the mantle to help each other,” he said.
Before Minister Farrakhan was whisked from the church to another engagement, he wished a Blessed Ramadan to the Muslims observing the Muslims’ Holy Month.
“Ramadan won’t be a Ramadan if you only go to the Masjid and pray and study the Quran and put it down without understanding what’s in it,” Minister Farrakhan said.
“This Ramadan we should come away with the spirit of Muhammad, the spirit to challenge tyranny and injustice wherever it is, so let’s get ready. On to Washington. Justice!”
“Or else,” the audience cried out.
“Justice!” Minister Farrakhan again called, with his hand behind his ear.
The people roared, “Or Else!”
All Photos by Mesiyah McGinnis