The historic Million Man March in Washington, D.C. organized by Nation of Islam leader, Hon. Louis Farrakhan is celebrating its 18th anniversary this year. To commemorate the historic moment that brought almost a million men together on the National Mall for a day of togetherness, solidarity and atonement, Farrakhan is hosting a celebration this weekend in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Six to ten thousand people are expected to participate in the three-day event that includes ‘Building a New World National Student Conference,” “The Future of Farming and Food in America,” Family Day at Abbott Park and a keynote address in Tuskegee Square from Farrakhan who will deliver a speech on “Muhammad’s Economic Blueprint: Ending Poverty and Want.”
Farrakhan says his health is fine now, after a prostate cancer diagnosis in 1991 and subsequent health problems.
“Tuskegee has given to American and the world so much that we need to be grateful for starting with Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks and you, Tom Joyner,” Farrakhan told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “So we wanted to come and pay respects to that great city and that great institution at Tuskegee University.”
In the 18 years since the March, Farrakhan says that several positive signs have emerged, but there are indications that more work needs to be done.
“In some cases, we’ve gone forward and in some cases, unfortunately we’ve gone backwards. And it always seems that when the people start becoming more conscious as we were in the 60’s more heroin and a pure form of heroin was introduced in our communities. And then when we were becoming conscious again in the 70’s – crack cocaine, gains and violence.
And now it’s full-blown in most of the urban centers with drugs and guns and no opportunity for our people to have jobs and employment. So we’re trying to do the best we can to survive. And unfortunately with young people who are uneducated or undereducated the lure of drugs and guns and violence is there so we have a big job on our hands to correct that.”
While the problems that hinder the black community overall are serious, Farrakhan does not believe they are insurmountable. He says that it is the plight of the poor that is the most significant issue and that that may be the next major gathering that he supports.
“It seems like in 2015 as Martin Luther King Jr., once called for the “Poor People’s March,” it seems to me that so many of us are talking about the middle class but where is the advocacy for the poor? Maybe to celebrate the Million Man March again, we are to gather poor people – black, brown and white, and make a statement to the country that something needs to be done to create jobs and opportunity for the people. We can’t always look to government.
“We have to look to ourselves and what we can do to end this cycle of poverty.”
For more information on the Holy Day of Atonement 2013 in Tuskegee, Alabama, click here.