Emanuella Grinberg and Ralph Ellis, CNN, October 10, 2015
“Justice or Else” was the theme of a rally Saturday organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.
Messages from the first march were echoed Saturday in speeches from African-American leaders, including Farrakhan, calling for unity and institutional reform in social justice issues affecting the black community.
Farrakhan, 82, spoke to the crowd on the National Mall in Washington and reflected on the importance of passing the torch to the next generation.
The first march on October 16, 1995, drew attendees–most of them black men–to Washington from all over the country for more than 12 hours of speeches calling on black men to take responsibility for improving themselves, their families and communities. On that day, Farrakhan spoke for more than two hours and expounded on the role of white supremacy in the country’s suffering while calling on black men to clean up their lives and become better fathers, husbands and neighbors.
Farrakhan blasted the white establishment again on Saturday.
“Moses was not an integrationist and neither are we,” he said. “Let me be clear. America has no future for you or for me. She can’t make a future for herself, much less a future for us.”
On passing the torch, he specifically mentioned Black Lives Matter, the group that arose in response to police-involved deaths of black men, as the “future leadership.”
“These are not just young people who happened to wake up one morning. Ferguson ignited it all,” he said. “So [to] all the brothers and sisters from Ferguson who laid in the streets, all the brothers and sisters from Ferguson who challenged the tanks, we are honored that you have come to represent our struggle and our demands.”