Students from across the country joined thousands of people who went to the nation’s capital on Saturday to discuss the issues affecting the African-American community.
"I came out here to network with people that cared about issues like educating our youth and stepping up in the political world so that our voices are heard," said Alisha Printup, a freshman majoring in economics at Spelman College.
Over the weekend, the Millions More Movement, organized by Nation of Islam Leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, took place in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to unify the black community and change the suffering of black people. A crowd estimated at more than 400,000 people gathered on the National Mall to hear several Black leaders speak on issues such as education, poverty, economic development, and political power.
“I wanted to be a part of history and unite as one with my people and help find a solution to the issues that are facing us," said Courtney Gilchrist, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice at Savannah State University.
Rebecca Marshall, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, said she came to the march because as a social worker, she wanted to have an impact as an agent of social change. "After today, I want us to unite as a community and fight against the inequalities and disparities that are in our community."
Throughout the day, speakers stressed that the event was a not a march but the beginning of a movement that called for black people to make a long-term commitment to improving their communities.
But many students like Toya Taylor, a senior majoring in information technology of Strayer University, were not sure what they would do to advance the cause of the new movement.”I don’t know what I’m going to do after today to contribute to the Movement and I don’t feel they addressed that enough.”
Leonard Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam and a sophomore at Howard University said that people like Taylor need to do three things.
First, Muhammad said that she should visit the website-millionsmoremovement.com- to know the goals. Two, join some type of progressive organization that is dedicated to carrying out the mission of the movement, whether it is a church or your local NAACP chapter. Three, he advised students to take initiative and develop their unique solutions to the ills afflicting Black communities.
"She should not wait for somebody to implement changes in her community. She was there too. She heard the same message as everyone else. She too is charged with the same responsibility," said Leonard.
Many hip-hop and youth organizations were also present. "We are here to save our youth. The hip-hop community is going to make it happen. All the hip-hop artists are focused on doing something positive to rebuild our community," said Charles Bishop of the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council.
Muhammad also encourages everyone to register and become a member of the movement. fill out an official registration form for the Movement. The form asks for each person’s talents, skills, etc. in order to build up the different ministries like defense, education, and health that Minister Farrakhan outlined in a 90-minute speech.
“From now on we need to begin organizing better financially and bringing our dollars together by supporting black businesses," said Jamel Anderson, a sophomore majoring in art at Lincoln University.