Black Panther Party announces new Million Youth March
JA'PHETH TOULSON Special to the AmNews | 7/12/2012, 1:21 p.m.
Mass incarceration, drug wars, homelessness and police brutality are only some of the obstacles Blacks have faced in New York City.
In 1998, the Million Youth March, led by African-American activist Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, was held in Harlem. According to thetalkingdrum.com, thousands upon thousands packed the streets of Malcolm X Boulevard to hear a message of Black power, self-determination and birthing a new generation of leadership.
"It brought out that fire that folks were missing," recalled National Youth Minister of the Black Panther Party Divine Allah, who joined the party during the time. "That's what Dr. Khalid brought to the game of activism, street activism and politics. He brought that."
As a result, Allah has seen people who attended the march become politicians, fashion designers and musicians. He says it shows how Blacks have progressed since that time, regardless of what other media may show.
Now, 14 years later, the Million Youth March will surface again on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. at Marcus Garvey Park at Madison Avenue and 120th Street. The event is sponsored by the Black Theology Institute and the New Black Militia. The Universal Network will be hosting it.
"The goal of the Million Youth March is to give instruction and survival techniques to the youth, because our youth are dying at more of an alarming rate than there has been at any time in history here in North America," said Minister Prince Na'Jee Shaka Muhammad, a student of Khalid Muhammad.
Muhammad was referring to people such as 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, teens who, many believe, were killed unjustifiably and whose deaths could have been avoided.
"[It] gave me the vision to keep the vision of my mentor alive, Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and that vision is the national rally," Muhammad said.
Khalid Muhammad's outspoken rhetoric was exceedingly confrontational. According to adl.org, his supporters viewed his hateful diatribes as expressions of rage that traditional Black leaders were unable or unwilling to deliver.
"Khalid was the type of person who made us see that," Allah said. "He wasn't just an activist, he was a revolutionary Black man, a strong, bold, good, uncompromising Black man who many people were afraid of--Black and white."
Allah said Blacks must continue to push for whatever issues are important to them. In doing so, he emphasized how they must "not play with the moral concepts" behind those issues, pointing out that the idea behind the march was to fight for what was taken from Blacks and "put the pieces of the puzzle back together."
Other issues the march will be addressing are gun violence, bullying and what is termed as "Black-on-Black violence."
"The raison d'tre for why we're doing this will always be white supremacy and racism because there are so many young voices out here that can't address it but need to," Allah said. "This is the way for us to call on those wishes."
Allah encouraged people to spread the word and support the movement by sending out emails, using social media, making phone calls and communicating with family members who live in the New York City area.
"There's no way out," he said. "There's no excuse to not want to be involved in something that you're supporting."