10.10.15. For those that either missed the occasion or have been in hiding for the past few months, this catchy set of numbers was the date for the Nation of Islam led “Justice or Else” Rally held on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Black, brown, red, and yellow people came from all over the nation to demand justice for the inequalities and hypocrisy in America today, and it was also the mark of the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March which was a significant milestone and achievement in the Black American community. Aside from all this, 10.10.15 was also an opportunity for people from various walks of life to hear the “infamous Farrakhan” address the masses without any media filters or sound bites adding to or taking away from his words of wisdom.
The sun was beaming that day and a slight breeze circulated the energy emanating from all that were in attendance. From the back of the crowd all the way to the podium placed at the steps of the capitol building you could feel the pride exuding from smiling faces, and of course there were others with looks of concern. One could see that the question being whispered under everyone’s breath was “Ok, what is the else?”
The Fruit of Islam Security team did an excellent job, making sure their presence was felt everywhere on the grounds and the gracefulness and hospitality of the Nation of Islam’s women was by far one of the best I had ever witnessed, especially given the magnitude of the event . There were no extreme incidents that I can recall or heard of, and over all it was a major success for the Nation of Islam, bringing people together from across the country that would have never crossed paths under other circumstances.
I remember being in the company of men who attended the Million Man March in 1995 and over hearing them vividly depict the euphoric solidarity and brotherhood between the men who attended the march 20 years ago. Men of all shades of Black left empowered and united. They left with a self determined plan of action to take back to their communities and got to work implementing programs and solutions to turn things around in their respective homes. I also recall how they said it took only a matter of months for the solidarity to crumble, and for plans to foil into a heap of nothingness in their wastebaskets .
On 10.10.15, that heap of nothingness began to form minutes after the call to disperse. We left with no plan of action to combat the injustice we face currently besides the resurface of an economic boycott against Christmas. We left disconnected with no signs of unity and comradery other than The Minister asking us to embrace someone we didn’t know after his speech. But after our embrace, we left back to our discontented Black and brown individuality, still in fear of being killed at a “routine” traffic stop, or never making it out of the circumstances we call our homes. We just left. …
After all the hype that engulfed the “Justice or Else” Rally, after all the social media selfies taken around D.C., and after the overwhelming disappointment for the lack of news media coverage, we as a people still don’t know what the “Else” is after nearly one month from dispersing from the State Capitol grounds. Or could it be that we weren’t ready to receive what the “Else” could be?
After a medley of different speakers, leaders, and faces of influence, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a powerful speech, laced with provocative words and prophesy. Speaking on the state of America, the state of Black America, the future of Black America, and what to do about the events that are soon to come.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made some damaging remarks about the scheming and plotting of the American government, it’s political and religious leaders, and America’s lack of empathy for the condition of the impoverished, despite America touting itself as a leading nation on the world stage. But even with the plethora of information that circulates our information networks to back up what was given in The Minister’s speech, what will we do with all this information? What will we do after the dots are outlined and connected?
Do we continue to buckle under the tyranny that has trampled our will for so long, or is it time now to push back against a decaying way of life? Do we continue this effort towards complete freedom as a non-violent struggle, or do we strap on the boots and arm ourselves against the raging machine called the American government? No leader will willingly admit that the answer is no one has the answer. But history tells us that every empire that has ever risen to greatness by inhumanity, has fallen by the collective hands of humanity with a solidified idea. Whether led by a religious mantra spitting general, or a charismatic outspoken dictator, history has shown us that when a collective people rally behind an idea that makes sense to them, the collective people can tip the scales of justice to favor the oppressed.
Neither the oppressed nor the oppressor can predict the spark that ignites the flame of revolution, but once it’s set ablaze the side with less to lose will most likely be victorious. An oppressed people sometimes see their condition as hopeless and look at their surroundings in despair, but remember that there is more strength in fighting for a life as opposed to fighting for a way of life, and when you are dissatisfied with your current condition, everything that you come across could potentially be preparation for what is to come.
So are you ready for the “else?” Not many were on 10.10.15. We left inspired, but not prepared. We left informed, but not engaged. Some left angry, but not determined. Most left as individuals, even though we came to be unified. In the end, we’re all very much dissatisfied, but it’s imperative that we determine what satisfaction looks like as a collective, then move from there.