Friday, October 14, 2005

The First Million Man March

I participated heavily in the first Million Man March. I met one of the volunteer organizers and told him I wanted to help in bringing this thing together. The LOC (Local Organizing Committee) met at the Phi Beta Sigma office near Kennedy Street in Washington DC. Being a numbers man, I volunteered with the Treasurer of the group.

The closer the March came, the more I put myself out there to volunteer. I would hand out information. At one point I was discouraged because it didn't seem like people, especially black people, were interested. Alot of those who were not in that line of thinking were sick of hearing about the March and Farakahan.

One thing I noticed was that there was subtle division. Even though Christians and Muslims and rich and poor wanted to come together, I saw subtle signs that those differences could not be overcome. There used to be this organization called Cease Fire: Don't Smoke the Brothers. I liked what they were about. They went into the black community and recruited and counseled gang members and so called "violence prone blacks"

Also, there was Benjamin Chavis of the NAACP. At around that time he was in trouble for sexually harrasing secretary. However, he was a Christian Minister at the time, and the NAACP I guess he felt sold him down a river. He was going through much drama but I felt that the Million Man March had such an affect on him that he went from being a Baptist minister to being a Minister in the Nation of Islam.

But, there were many memorable incidents in helping to organize. I helped reporters get their credentials. One black reporter needed them, I helped him get them. Another white reporter was acting extra bitchy, I didn't know what his problem was. I helped do all the envelope stuffing, all the organizing, disbursing the money, and I got to know quite a few folks along the way.

The day before the March, I was part of the welcoming committee, welcoming people to the District. I don't know what the Washington Post's problem was, saying that only something like 100,000 people showed up, but I saw many, many more. I designed a flier that broke down when stuff was going to start. I gave it to all the brothers coming in to the city. For the first time I felt like a real brotherhood, a camraderie of sorts.......Next: The day of the March.

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