“So this day is the beginning of that movement that will never end. It’s not over, it’s just begun.”
-The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
By Paul Holston
What will be known as a historic event for 2015 and the 21st century in America, “Justice Or Else!” was the theme that was highly anticipated nationwide and echoed from the melanin waves of Black men, women and children all throughout the National Mall in the nation’s capital Oct. 10.
Similar to the Million Man March in 1995, the event included a variety of speakers who addressed the crowd on many diverse calls for justice. Speakers included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) D.C. Branch President Akosua Ali, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Anton House, a doctoral candidate for African-American Studies at Howard University and concluded with a keynote address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.
The “Justice Or Else!” march, led by Farrakhan, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March and called upon justice under the law and for justice to be applied equally, regardless of creed, class or color. Topics included the demand for equality for African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Women, the poor, the incarcerated and Veterans.
“I’m honored to be here in front of this great, great house [Capitol Hill] that was built by Black slaves,” said Farrakhan. “So I don’t think I’m encroaching on any American by standing on the ground that was paved for with the sweat and the blood of our ancestors.”
During his address, Farrakhan covered critical focuses that surrounded the theme of “Justice Or Else!,” including affirming the faith in God, challenging the emotion of fear, police brutality, acknowledging the strong support of women in the movement and supporting the youth leadership to include the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He also challenged the notion of white supremacy and criticized the federal government.
“There is no government on this earth, not one, that can give the people what the people desire of freedom, of justice and equity. America is under defined judgment as we speak,” Farrakhan said.
Students from Howard University who woke up bright and early to attend the march were overwhelmed by the experience as some regarded the moment as historic.
“It’s an honor…it’s truly an honor,” said Brandon Watts, a freshman political science major from San Bernardino, Ca. “I can’t even express my emotions because it’s too much to take in. Being a freshman and experiencing something like this…it’s exciting.”
“I’m here because it’s a historical part of our nation,” said Etienne Lashley, a senior music education major from Brooklyn, N.Y. “All of this shows freedom, equality and justice.”
Family members of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and Mike Brown were in attendance in support of the historical march. Many prominent, Black celebrities were also in attendance of the march, to include J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Common, Chuck D, Diddy, Young Jeezy, Jay Electronica, and Dave Chappelle. Donnie Simpson, a longtime radio personality and host of the newly Donnie Simpson Show on D.C. based radio station Majic 102.3FM, expressed that it was important to be in attendance of the march as he also attended the Million Man March in ’95.
“I was here 20 years ago, and there was no way I would miss this today, just like I wouldn’t miss it 20 years ago. It’s about standing up for us…a lot of the issues we talked about 20 years ago are still here. My hope is that 20 years from now, we won’t be talking about the same issues today,” Simpson said.
As the message from Farrakhan during his almost two-hour address resonated throughout the space of the National Mall, members of the Nation of Islam reiterated the importance of why the “Justice Or Else!” march is important in 2015.
“I think that this meeting is vitally important for all people, especially for Black, Latino and poor Whites.” Said Bro. Amin Ali Muhammed, a member of the Nation of Islam from Los Angeles, Ca. “The economic condition, especially for us as African-Americans, is a paramount that we begin to take up this message of “Justice Or Else.” In order for America to continue, we have to continue to pick up our responsibility. When you look at what’s going on around the country, it is truly either “Justice or Else.”
“It [the ‘Justice Or Else!’ March] is not important, it’s vital…it’s essential, its critical, and its urgent,” said Bro. Jamil Muhammad, spokesman for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and proud father of four Howard University graduates. “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is calling for justice, which is the universal principle of fair dealing to be done all over the world, but most particularly, in the case of the so-called American Negro.”
Muhammad, a ’81 Howard alumnus and a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, also emphasized on the importance of Howard University pertaining to the themed “Justice Or Else” march.
“Howard University is the capstone and it is the Mecca,” he said. “We need farmers, we need engineers, we need mathematicians, we need physicists, we need doctors, we need lawyers. That’s why my children, four that are already Howard alumnus and the three remaining, will come through [Howard] soon. It is a family tradition…and I call on Howard University to prepare the leadership for America and the global community.”
With the clear, blue skies and the shining, bright sun beaming down the Mall, Farrakhan concluded the day-long event with some final words to leave the enormous crowd to take with them back home starting on Oct. 11.
“I would like engineers of every kind, navigators, pilots, farmers, college presidents, especially the Black colleges. You got to make the colleges teach the things that will make young people builders instead of beggars. From this day forward, a demand for justice will never end until justice is ours. So this day is the beginning of that movement that will never end. It’s not over, it’s just begun.” Farrakhan said. “As-Salaam-Alaikum (Peace be unto you.)”
[Story was Published in Howard University’s “The Hilltop” Student Newspaper 15Oct2015]