Monday, December 28, 2015

The Bus Ride to the 2nd Million Man March

Million Man March 


This is a speech I presented at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (October 2015).

**Below is the translation of the speech from the video**
On the bus ride to the march was my only time to really think about what I was actually doing, the decision I had made. To not only take up on a travel extravaganza with a school organization but, to place myself in the midst of history, in the midst of other possible unknowns. The unknowns are what haunted and fed my paranoia on the way to Washington, D.C. I bugged my friends with ‘what if’s..’ questions and statistics of how likely my life would be affected by a series of unknown events. My concern ranged from facing the appearance of the KKK to getting separated from the UMassD group. I attended the Million Women March as a child but, under the protection of my family. I was facing the world by myself. I realized that all survival lessons, home training, and life experience will partake in my experience at the Million Man March that weekend.
The day of the event:  I’m dressed for success because, that is the only way to start off an affluent day. I get in the elevator to head to the hotel lobby and I’m instantly enveloped by people who are also attending the march that day. They greet us with respect and admiration for supporting a greater cause. This march is already expanding it’s reach in my life and is showcasing that it represents more than a layout of XYZ inequality problems in America. As Nation of Islam leader, Farrakhan, emphasized during his speech, “It’s NOT a moment, it’s a movement!”
Fast forward past the subway ride, we’ve now arrived to the National Mall. Like any major event, we are bombarded with a plethora of vendors and entrepreneurs selling memorabilia, souvenirs, etc. I’m not sure if it’s a daily occurrence, but amongst these vendors, were people selling beautiful african oils/soaps/natural hair products, etc. This was their time to thrive and they came out and showed up, kudos to supporting black businesses in America. We need to invest in ourselves and motivate one another to be productive citizens. For my business students, this is Maslow's hierachy of needs.

I am not going to attribute the high level of love and respect emulated from the crowds to the fact that we were in southern hospitality zone. We are emerged in a nation that fills it's media with "black violence" and minorities are doing this or that wrong. But once a million+ of us peacefully gather around the cause of improving black lifestyle quality in America, NO ONE is there to share our our story or cover a historic event for the nation. I wish you all were there to read all the signs.. see the hurt faces.. and hear the life struggles, you’d agree that every single person came to the Million Man March hungry for more. Hungry for answers, healing, information, support, ecetera. I was able to get a taste of a wide range of the march by exploring the crowds from the very back all the way up to the stage where Farrakhan stood and many influential leaders spoke, including UMassD Professor Morgan James Peters, (aka Mwalim). Traveling deeper into the crowds was parallel to traveling deeper in historic roots. The passion was stronger amongst the crowds with intense concentration on the speakers and people appearing to be present for America’s growth.
Farrakhan did a thorough overview and recap of major instances of inequality in America. For example, police brutality cases from the past decade, illegal situations that didn’t result in consequences, Black Lives Matter campaign, and igniting a commemoration for the strong men and women that rallied for our struggle and demands at cases such as Ferguson.
The following quote introduces my summary of the Million Man March “call to action”.  Farrakhan states, "We who are getting older... what good are we if we don't prepare young people to carry that torch of liberation to the next step? What good are we if we think we can last forever and not prepare others to walk in our footsteps?" To me, Farrakhan is asking older generations to hand us (the millennials or surviving generations) the key to open the door. We are the ones that can initiate change. Expecting Farrakhan to hand us the secret to equality in America is unrealistic. Same as, waiting for older generations to switch up status quo and start voting for campaigns that benefit us or for them to draft a system that they’ve never seen before. We see a better future, now let’s create it.  
Grammarly yours, SemirahD
I usually don't voice my political opinions on my blog but, I'm in college and you have to try everything at least once.
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