On Saturday, October 10, 2015, thousands gathered at the mall in Washington, DC, for the Million Man March: Justice or Else. Coordinated by the Minister Louis Farrakhan, in lieu of the current disheartening events that has happened to African-American men, women and children. Specifically, the senseless deaths of many at the hands of police officers, as well as economical and educational depravity, and crime within the African-American community, The March also commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the “Million Man March,” in 1995.
Whether you agree, disagree, like or don’t like Minister Farrakhan, he has the ability to bring a gathering for a unified purpose. I was thirty-five years old twenty years ago. I remember wanting to go to the March, but alas, I didn’t make it. My father (who is now deceased), and my uncle (who is a whopping eighty years young), were in attendance on that day. My father and uncle were very proud to be a part of that history. Both were at the “March on Washington,” August of 1963. It’s funny (ironic funny) that forty-something years later, we’re still marching.
Twenty years ago, the young people we refer to as the “Generation Y(ers) ” were in middle school. Twenty years later, they are the twenty and thirty-something year olds. I wondered to myself (being now considered “middle-aged”), what were their thoughts on the March: Justice or Else.
In seeking an answer, I asked a good friend of mine, Kofi Osei Owusu. Kofi is a graduate of Howard University’s School of Performing Arts, Class of 2006. Kofi is a dynamic actor, director and playwright, here in the Washington Metropolitan area. Kofi is also my fraternity brother, (I’m a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.), he is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. I’ve known Kofi for two years. In 1995, Kofi was a thirteen-year old eighth grader living in Georgia with his family. Today, he’s a thirty-three year old young man, who attended the Million Man March: Justice or Else on October 10th. I wanted to know his thoughts. Have we progressed?
Kofi Osei Owusu:
“My reason for being an attendee at the Million Man March: Justice or Else, was because I Know that we, as a people (African-Americans), can overcome any obstacle, we just need Right information. I believe the theme, Justice or Else, was done two-fold: Justice or Else in one breath can be seen as to “spark fire,” while the “Or Else,” may have intrigued others to find out more-I’m going to go to the March to find out!
I believe the March twenty years ago, was done to “change the global face” of the black man. I don’t believe progress has been made within the last twenty years because we as black people are still trying to convince ourselves to “believe” in ourselves, and as a whole community. There should be no convincing-just believe.
Marches and protests can be beneficial if done with a proper focus and plan. Case in point: The protest and outcome recently of the students and football team at the University of Missouri.
I believe that we as black people need to put our created differences aside, and get back to the general principles we were raised with. If we can begin to understand that we will be “uncomfortable” for a while in getting back to our roots and ancestry, we will understand that this uncomfortableness” will result in a reward for our children. We must stop the obsession with material things. We can begin our overcoming by reinvesting that liquid money back into our own communities. Let’s Be Proud Again!
How can change come? I’m bringing change by starting with the one person who knows Kofi very well-Me! I challenge myself everyday to make decisive decisions on where I choose to spend my money. And as you know, I am a playwright, so I write and direct pieces on subjects that deal with educating all people as well as entertaining them.”
And there you have it! The perspective from a Generation Y(er)!
Read Jacqueline Brown’s reviews on DCMetroTheaterArts.
John Stoltenberg reviews Jacqueline Brown’s play ‘A Conversation With the Man Who Killed My Son’ at Dynamic Wellness.