Philadelphia To Host The 16th Anniversary of Million Man March headlined by Minister Farrakhan

Student Minister Rodney Muhammad speaks during a press conference on Sept. 14, 2011 (Photo: Scott H. Muhammad)
Philadelphia, PA -The Spirit of the Million Man March Lives! So says a coalition of local organizations determined to recapture the energy and commitment of the historic Million Man March held in Washington, D.C., 16 years ago. The Greater Philadelphia Local Organizing Committee (LOC) will re-ignite that spark when it hosts the 16th Anniversary of the Million Man March the weekend of October 7 - 9th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia.

Making the announcement at Hospital and Healthcare Union 1199 AFSCME, LOC organizers have issued a national call to action designed to “re-energize, refocus and redirect the energy that was experienced and determined that day on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.”

“This commemoration couldn’t come at a better time,” said Student Minister Rodney Mohammad, a member of the LOC and the liaison between the LOC and The Honorable Louis Farrakhan, head of The Nation of Islam who called the Million Man March in 1995. “We stand in violation of the pledge that we made in DC that day. That pledge represents a code of conduct and because it was violated on every point, our communities continue to suffer. Our failure to stand by our pledge has allowed disunity to creep in our communities, making them worse off than they were in 1995.”

Philadelphia was selected to host this important milestone because the Greater Philadelphia area sent some 200,000 men, the largest contingent in the nation, to Washington in 1995. Key organizers of the ‘95’ effort are involved in planning the call to mobilization, which will focus on hunger, street violence and political accountability.

Although the commemoration is a national event, local organizers will spotlight the hunger initiative with a demonstration project, a food drive for hungry families with children. Because recent published reports show that the First Congressional District in Philadelphia has the second highest rate of food hardship in the nation, attendees of Sunday’s main event at the Convention Center are being asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item with them to the 12th & Arch or 13th & Arch entrance at the PA Convention Center, on Sunday October 9, 2011. The food will be collected for distribution to needy families in the Philadelphia region.

Expected to draw some 17,000 participants from around the country, the commemoration will begin with a Day of Atonement on Friday, October 7 and will culminate with a keynote address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Sunday, October 9, 2011 at the Center.

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, the focus will be on young leaders and will feature a youth leadership forum chaired by Minister Farrakhan as part of the mobilization action plan to identify, mentor and train emerging grass-roots leaders and youth leaders in practical organizing techniques nationwide.

Minister Farrakhan speaking during the Million Man March
LOC members note that the local mobilization for the weekend effort is a starting point that will allow a rebuilding of the front-line coalitions that gave the Black community a greater voice and more organized action agenda for political affairs in Philadelphia County.

“The poor and especially people of color are under attack by forces that have been demonstrating their anger about the election of an African American president in the US,” said Joe Certaine, former managing director of the city and LOC member. “They have seized the momentum by pandering to those who relish our economic, social, cultural and political demise. Without an aggressive grass-roots mobilization we cannot even hope to fight back.”

Joining in the commemoration with Minister Muhammad and music mogul turned developer, Kenny Gamble, spokesman for the Philadelphia LOC, will be many of the Delaware Valley’s most notable civic, religious, fraternal and social organizations, many of which were a part of the 1995 March.

“The Million Man March was an historic event,” said Gamble. “It brought together people from all walks of life; it enlightened and uplifted the people of the African American community. On Oct 9th we will be blessed to come together where people of all nationalities and faiths can again come and share in the wonderful experience of the Day of Atonement. We extend an invitation for everyone to come.”

To learn more about upcoming anniversary celebration go to http://noi.org/hdoa2011/. Follow on Twitter and Facebook. Click below to watch Minister Farrakhan lead nearly two million Black men in the Million Man March pledge in '95.

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