Saturday, October 10th will mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March (MMM) and I am filled with a unique set of emotions regarding the upcoming event.
On one hand, I genuinely wish that I could participate as I did on that beautiful day twenty years ago. Yet, those eager feelings of longing to participate are moderately quelled by the mere fact that I will be doing the work I vowed to pursue when I originally participated. I'm unsure of which is better or even if such a debate has merit.
Yet, I am sure of what does have merit - the resonating effects of the MMM on its participants, planners, and open-minded observers. Indeed people who abide by soundbites or are rigidly narrow in their worldview will attempt to discredit the event by either casting aspersions at the Honorable Minister Farrakhan or dilluting the message (as was attempted with #AllLivesMatter). I would wager heavily that those who wish to discredit the MMM were not there or will not be at the anniversary event. The camaraderie fostered and the visions crystallized on the Mall during that crisp October morning has done more societal good than the cumulative works of those hoping to malign the event.
My career as an educator has roots in the messages of empowerment and purpose extolled at the original march. Moreover, unlike the unhealthy images perpetuated in the media, that day amongst a million real brothers, real people, and in real time - the truth was overwhelmingly obvious. The truth is that there is a large contingency of difference makers, community builders, and family men within African American culutre. These often unsung individuals are overlooked as people who are not invested in our communities try to dictate a narrative that calluously impacts our communities.
But to the brothers and sisters whose lives and works are embodiments of the spirit of the Million Man March - much love to you and those you serve. We are making a difference.