Fearless organizing for Justice Or ElseBy Richard B. Muhammad - Editor | Last updated: Jun 16, 2015 - 8:42:46 AM What's your opinion on this article?
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Nation of Islam minister spreads vision, message for October gathering, demand for gov’t redress in Washington, D.C.
The Nation of Islam minister spoke passionately and frankly to a crowded ballroom at Salaam Restaurant, warning that the American system and world governments have failed. These governments are ruled by Satan and cannot bring into reality what the people desire and want, he said.
- “You don’t want to believe it but the Black man and woman of America are the choice of God. For what? What have we done to be his choice? If you go by our actions we’ve done nothing,” said the Minister. But God has chosen Black people as the question was asked in the Bible, can any good come out of Nazareth, the question is can any good come out of Black people? he said.
No time for cowardice
God will not be denied and cowardice will bring the wrath of God Himself because this is not the time for cowardice or cowering when God has come has come to deliver a suffering people, the Minister continued.
Then today Blacks are shot down almost daily and the federal government is too weak and corrupt to protect the lives of Black people, Min. Farrakhan said.
“How long are you are going to live under tyranny and continue to pass on the legacy of cowardice to your children? How long will you continue to suffer what we suffer and when somebody is bold enough to speak truth to power, you get frightened?” he asked. “What are you afraid of?”
“We must never let fleeting wealth and ever fleeting fame stop us from seeing the plantation. The same owners that came from Europe that owned the acres of land that they could not work but found it easy to own the ships that brought our fathers out of Africa. So slavery made America rich, slavery never made us rich.”
So-called education is training to keep Blacks in a “slave box” as Black neighborhoods don’t provide goods and services for themselves, are exploited and receive the worst products and services from those who provide goods and services, he said.
The law is restricted and expanded as Whites use the criminal justice system to release and punish those as it wishes without regard for justice, he said.
Dr. King’s life cannot be summed up in I Have A Dream in 1963 when in 1967, he talked about waking from a dream and seeing an American nightmare, Min. Farrakhan said.
Dr. King was a revolutionary thinker and the speeches of the last year of his life must be studied by those who come to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 10, as the civil rights leader spoke of boycotts, spreading economic pain and collective Black economic action, said Min. Farrakhan.
The Million Man March anniversary gathering is about justice and a demand on government for redress of grievances, so if you are afraid stay home, he said. “Leave me alone, if you don’t have it in your heart that Justice must come Or Else,” the Minister said as the audience exploded into applause.
“When you are seeking justice, you aren’t laughing and clowning. When you want justice you got to have a mind prepared for the ‘Or Else,’” he said.
“If we are denied what is rightfully due to us, then there has to be unified action that we take that will force the justice that we seek,” said the Minister. “This is no march, this is a gathering of those who seek justice.”
We can no longer be threatened by militarized police and when a people are willing to die for their freedom, they are worthy of freedom, he added.
As America tries to police the world, China and other nations are sending American officials back home saying clean up your human rights violations, the Minister said.
The Minister’s themes in Chicago reflected similar themes from messages delivered in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and in New York in early June that focused on the need for concerted economic action and withdrawal, as advocated by Dr. King, the power of Black unity and the opportunity to seek justice for Latinos, Native Americans and even poor Whites.
We need to boycott Xmas holiday spending as part of demands for addressing the crisis in Black America, the Minister declared. The crowd again applauded and shouted its approval.
God’s judgment against America
The wrath of God is displayed in the forces of nature with weather forecasters unable to explain severe conditions as the author of the climate is using nature to destroy this world, the Minister said.
Forces and circumstances are producing an event that will usher in a great change, not political change but divine change, he stressed.
America is not a democracy and has always been of, for and by the rich, the Minister said.
“Look at the pain now we are suffering,” said Minister Farrakhan, speaking to leaders, activists and youth on June 5 at the Harlem State Office Building in New York. “It’s not getting better, it’s worse in the face of some progress made by some of us who are intelligent, gifted, well-meaning. We are like the crabs in a barrel that the crab master has reached into the barrel and taken a few crabs and put them at the top of the barrel.”
Justice is the weapon God is using today, which is the Day of Judgement, and in the future U.S. cities will be leveled as America has leveled cities, the Minister warned. Even Blacks will pay for evil done to one another and rejection of the promise of God because Elijah Muhammad said the enemy would treat Blacks worse and worse, Minister Farrakhan said. Blacks must stop the killing of one another and it can be done, he said.
Using scripture, history and current conditions the Minister described how the national crisis in policing, plots against Black America, and the end of weak and apologetic leadership is ushering in a demand for a serious decision.
Black youth aren’t “thugs” as wrongly described by the president but angry and courageous young people who need right guidance, he said.
We will not collect Black votes to simply give votes to Hillary Clinton or any politician, the Minister vowed. He was referring to the former U.S. senator’s run for the White House and national elections in 2016.
We can accomplish this with courage and unity, but some things are worth giving your life for and we must be willing to pay the ultimate price, Min Farrakhan said. The fight isn’t with silly weapons but with unity and the power of God Himself, he added. But this is no time for cowards, Min. Farrakhan said.
Conditions in urban America are social engineering with the shutdown of factories and divestiture from cities set up to destroy Black people, he explained. Drugs and guns were brought in and music promoted to foment Blacks killing Blacks, he said. The federal government of America has produced the darkness the inner cities are in, said Min Farrakhan. But we can make our communities better, he said.
“I like that he called everyone out. We gotta go street by street and block by block, interact with our young men and women,” said Hakim Yahmadi, a community activist from the Bronx.
“We’ve got to recharge and get young people and women of all ages who are merely chasing that money to hear the message,” he said.
“There were a lot of people there who are newer faces,” observed Bob Law, a legendary national radio host and New York-based activist. “That there (were) young people interested in what the Minister has to say and what is being planned for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March is good. So when the Minister comes … people (get to) know what justice is,” he added.
Iesha Sekou of Street Corner Resources and chairwoman of the National Action Network’s Anti-Violence Committee said the Harlem meeting re-inspired her to go out “into the community and increase, not just the work, but the enthusiasms of others to do more to empower our community.”
She loved the Minister’s idea “regarding our health and growing our own food. The Minister said we should use empty spaces to grow gardens and I thought that that was so timely, especially the way fruits and vegetables are being grown, handled and stored.”
Cheyenne Alisha Smith, a medical student and member of Make The Road-New York, became emotional seeing the Minister face to face for the first time. When she got home she thought about her role as a future cardiologist. “It’s not about income, it’s about helping people,” she said.
Queen Nasirah, a former police officer and the founder of the Eye See You 7 organization, called the Minister’s message empowering. “Unity is the only method we can use to come out of the confusion we suffer as a people,” she said. “When we begin to (see) our connection to God—we won’t so easily shoot one another. You can’t know God and look at your brother or sister with an intention to kill him or her.”
Student Minister Hafeez Muhammad said the Local Organizing Committees are developing through organizations and individuals that can move people.
“The visit of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to Philadelphia, in early June was a great example of leadership. The Minister is so confident in his leadership that he doesn’t have to send out a team of advance people to build a crowd and create the correct environment for his presence. Having served in government and politics for 40 years, I’ve seen close-up, how politicians and others go to great lengths to make sure that just the right crowd is present, when they make an appearance. In Philadelphia all the Minister said is that he would like to meet with leaders. When I made calls to let people know, the only ones who couldn’t be there were the ones who had schedules that they couldn’t change or folks (like me) who experienced emergencies,” said Joe Certaine, a former managing director for the city of Philadelphia. He was an integral part of the Philadelphia effort for the Million Man March and is backing the anniversary gathering.
“Since that day, everyone who spoke with me has asked about the next steps to get things moving. Minister Farrakhan has inspired us in ways that no other leader can. But, in his humility, he asked to sit with us and explain his view of why the Million Man March anniversary is necessary and important. Many of my friends and allies, who support the Minister, are preparing to hold the first organizing meeting for the regional effort. Most of us interact with leadership in other parts of the state and region so, as we’ve done in the past, we’ll begin an outreach campaign that will marshal resources and the people to answer the Minister’s call,” he said.
“We will begin to recruit and prepare the marshals that we have always sent to the Million Man March. We’ll work with the organizers to assist with material and logistics. Philadelphia has always been intimately involved in providing strategic and tactical support along with the thousands of people we send to support the Minister. Here in Philly we say, ‘No Excuses’… ‘Justice or Else.’ ”
“The 20th anniversary of the Million Man March will be commemorated on October 16, 2015. The last time this historical event took place in 1995, I was only five years of age, barely old enough to know myself, yet alone comprehend the complexities of systemic oppression, institutionalized racism and pervasive White supremacy. Twenty years later, I am now 25 years of age, have since become very much acclimated with the realities of the African-American struggle in America,” said Seff Al- Afriqi, a spoken word artist and author from Philadelphia and khateeb, a person who delivers Islamic sermons.
“As a result, I am exceedingly enthusiastic to attend the Million Man March for the first time as a youth organizer, activist and community leader. Today, many of my young African-American peers have only heard about the historical ‘Holy Day of Atonement, Reconciliation and Responsibility’ where over 1 million gathered in the name of justice through books and third party sources. So, in preparation for the upcoming commemoration we have taken upon ourselves as African-American youth to organize and mobilize.”
“I’m excited because the Minister is drawing the line in the sand, saying we have to wake up,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago. What is out here is broken and it’s time to build something new, he added.
“Now we got to rally around him,” said the priest. “We got to let the government and we got to let America know he doesn’t stand alone, we stand together.”
It’s due time and Minister Farrakhan is the only one who can corral the masses for a critical message and commitment to Black people in America and globally, said Tara Stamps, a 46-year-old educator and daughter of legendary activist Marion Stamps. She felt the Minister’s call for Black-Latino unity is “necessary.” It’s in the interest of the White power structure to keep Black and Latinos apart but both communities are suffering violence, police killings, imprisonment and education failures, she added. And, said the recent aldermanic candidate, the theme of “Justice Or Else” rings with young people.
(Lamont Muhammad reported on this story from New York. Jehron Muhammad reported from Philadelphia.)