Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, addressing the Justice or Else rally on the National Mall Saturday. (Photo: Justice or Else)
Paying homage to the Million Man March 20 years ago, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, addressed a large crowd on the National Mall on Saturday afternoon.
He urged the crowd to continue the push for police reform and changes in black communities.
"A fearful people can’t be free. A fearful people will bow down, when it appears that the enemy is so strong and we are so weak,” he said.
The Nation of Islam sponsored the Justice or Else rally, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March, when hundreds of thousands of black men rallied in D.C.
Farrakhan spearheaded that original march.
Attention has been focused on the deaths of unarmed black men since the shootings of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida and 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Deaths of unarmed black males at the hands of law enforcement officers have inspired protests under the "Black Lives Matter" moniker around the country.
Farrakhan also paid tribute to the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, saying its members represent “future leadership.”
The original march on Oct. 16, 1995, brought hundreds of thousands to D.C. to pledge to improve their lives, their families and their communities. The National Park Service estimated the attendance at the original march to be around 400,000, but subsequent counts by private organizations put the number at 800,000 or higher. The National Park Service has refused to give crowd estimates on Mall activities since.
Organizers estimated hundreds of thousands of participants would attend this year's event.
President Barack Obama, who attended the first Million Man March, will be in California on Saturday.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police Department’s intelligence office has warned its officers that violence is a possibility this weekend as a rally commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, and the department’s union president is unhappy about it.
This weekend’s rally is organized by the Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan, and the intelligence office of the Capitol Police said last month in an email newsletter that Farrakhan “has been accused of inciting violence against both Caucasians and police officers.”
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine tells The Washington Post that the newsletter was “rescinded as it was not authorized, reviewed, or approved by the Chief of Police, adding that the department “prides itself on protecting the rights of people to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment.”
But James Konczos, president of the Capitol Police officers’ union, has called for Dine’s resignation, saying in an email that many officers took exception to the “race-baiting” tone of the newsletter.
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Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan says black men and women should forsake foul language and violence against each other.
Farrakan says that if things don’t change in the black community, participating in the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March is just “vanity.”
He spoke out against using foul language against women, and against domestic violence and abortion.
Farrakan says, “It is your body, you can do what you want with it.” But he added it would be tragic if a scientist or leader was aborted.
Farrakhan also praised the young protesters behind Black Lives Matter. He called them the next leaders of the civil rights movement and called on older leaders to support them.
He asks: “What good are we if we don’t prepare young people to carry the torch of liberation to the next step?”