by AYSIA MORTON
On Saturday, thousands of people gathered at the U.S. Capitol to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.
Celebrities such as J. Cole, P Diddy, Common, and Dr. Cornell West were among those in attendance.
Originally created in 1995, the Million Man March is a peaceful rally crated and led by Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. It was a restricted gathering for black men only, a time and place for them to “declare their right to justice to atone for their failure as men and to accept responsibility as the family head,” according to the Nation of Islam. It was meant to be a day of brotherhood and unity.
But decades later for its 20th anniversary, thousands of men, women and children gathered around the capitol to participate in the march which Minster Farrakhan entitled #JusticeOrElse. The theme obviously correlates with the racial tension and injustices that have plagued the black community and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Farrakhan took the podium for his speech, addressing many issues within the black community, especially womanhood.
But, not to my surprise, many people took to social media in protest of what the minister was saying. He is known to have homophobic, sexist, and transphobic views that mostly stem from his religion.
But is the sexuality of others really what’s most important when it comes to a rally about equality and justice within the black community? It seems as though Minister Farrakhan’s views left many people perplexed.
Mid-day, I received a text from one of my gay friends commenting on the march. He said that “bashing homosexuality at an event that is supposed to be about equality is a contradiction. By bashing homosexuality he is basically banishing the existence of black gay males from the black image if that makes sense.” My friend went on to discuss with me how he thought Minster Farrakhan’s religious views deviated from the message of the march.
Sexuality does not erase ones ancestry. How can one discriminate against another based on their sexuality, as if they are not a part of the same struggle?
Many Twitter users were also outraged with the Minister’s sexist points of view including one who stated that “this benevolent patriarchy is what black women need to watch out for. Black women are not here to serve black men as their kings. Black women are not the stepping stool for black men.”
It seems as though the march is left to one’s own interpretation. Some people are not be able to look past the Minister’s personal and religious views, while others think that the march is defined by more than that.