By: Kristin Hankerson
On October 10th, 2015, thousands of men, women, and children gathered in Washington D.C. to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, a social justice rally held by Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. The rally was created to put differences of people aside and address issues facing minorities and eventually lead up to their empowerment and determination.
Our very own Rutgers University created a group, appropriately titled RU Justice or Else, in order to spread awareness and make the trip to D.C. One of the chairperson for RU Justice or Else, senior Einstein Albert also notes that the 20th anniversary of the March is significant because “there were those in elite positions of power that felt they would be violence. Actually, I can tell you that it was the most peaceful and uplifting event that I have seen. Black men and women coming together and ‘fighting the power’ so to speak. There were no violent outbursts, no fights and zero media coverage.” The media likes to portray people of color as violent beings who cannot congregate for a common cause without violent breakouts or rioting. This rally, specifically, demonstrated the exact opposite.
This march, rich with history and importance to all minorities, is related to the magazine’s theme: finding of our voices. In essence, having a voice is being able to have a say or choice in any matter or issue. Because of the constant oppression, minorities in this country have felt as though their voice has been silenced. “I do believe the best way for minorities to take having their voice silenced is to take your money out. Support businesses in your community. Support our people. It will be hard at first, but nothing worth having is ever easy,” Einstein proclaims.
Fortunately, rallies like the Million Man March aim to give a voice back to all the minorities who have had their voices stripped from them. In attending the 20th anniversary of the march, Einstein, as a black man in America, also felt like in that moment, his voice was given back to him. “I gained a sense of hope. An ideal to strive towards to. That I can change my future in this country. My sense of voice was used very aggressively. In my heart, mind, body and soul I know that I have a choice in how my future plays out in this country.” Amongst many of his other peers, Einstein sees the inequality in this world; inequality towards people like him and in a world where their voices needed to be heard.
With all of the accounts of police brutality, senseless arrests, discrimination, and racism that people of color has faced, the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March gave them a safe haven; a place where they could all come together, be peaceful, and be inspired to make this country a better place for all. As a successful effort to strive for change, Albert and amongst thousands of others whom attended will continue to use their “voices” for the equality they wish to achieve for their people.
Photography courtesy of Joy Taylor