The Million Man March, organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, gathered everyone together to call for unity and restoration of African American communities.
Alongside Farrakhan was civil rights activist Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, and Dick Gregory.
During the March, many others asked Black men to make the following pledges: register to vote, strengthen Black political power in their communities, avoid from both physical and verbal abuse and violence against women and children and to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
During the march, the participants were also asked to not spend any money on October 16 in order to demonstrate the significance of a Black dollar to the nation’s economy.
This year on October 16, another rally will take place at the National Mall honoring the 20 year anniversary of the Million Man March.
The event is called Justice of Else March, a response to the social issues that are afflicting African Americans across the U.S., specifically the recent shootings and killings of unarmed Blacks.
“Too many of our sisters and brothers are dying at the hands of those who perpetrate injustice against our communities,” said Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr. “We will not remain still and immobilized. Now is the time to stand up again. We wholeheartedly support Minister Farrakhan’s call and demand: Justice Or Else!”
Minister Farrakhan made the announcement in Washington D.C. at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church with pastor of the Union Temple Baptist Church Rev. Willie Wilson and Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr.by his side.
“When we look at 20 years ago, God showed us what can happen and what we can do when we are guided by divine direction” said Wilson. “This time around, with the unity of all these ethnicities, all these races and all these people who are crying out, we expect that we can multiply what we did 20 years ago to make a great difference in this nation.”
This year the civil rights leaders are creating a nationwide effort to mobilize people to attend. Pastor of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore Rev. Jamal Bryant has also played a vital role in this year’s march and has also been involved in protesting and speaking up against police shootings.
“We are in fact giving an ultimatum: justice or else,” Bryant said. “We are no longer looking for symbolic victory. We are looking for substance, we are not terrorist, and we are citizens who have been terrorized.”