Inheriting The Torch of Leadership

    Do not allow their ages to fool you, it is their youth that gives them the necessary energy to implement a movement. Sable Nelson,19, Brother Hasaun, 22, (ne Hasaun Smalls) and Milton Boyd, 23, represent the new generation of young black activist preparing to elevate the black community to a higher level, beginning with the Millions More Movement.

      On Oct. 15, millions are expected to convene in nation’s capital to participate in the Millions More Movement, a commemoration of the Million Man March that took place a decade ago. During this mass demonstration Minister Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Dorothy Height, Rev. Al Sharpton and others will assemble on the National Mall to discuss the challenges the black community faces in their never-ending pursuit for justice and equality.

      Contrasting from years’ past, young outspoken activist will not watch idly as those from past generations speak on their behalf. College students and young people from across the country will be in attendance to voice their concerns.

      Brother Hasaun, a native of Brooklyn, N. Y., serves as the national youth coordinator for the Millions More Movement. He has worked diligently to mobilize youth organizations from around the country. “We have bus loads of young people coming from the AUC (Atlanta University Center), Florida Agriculture and Mechanics University, and Tennessee State University,” said Hasaun.

      Hasaun, a member of the Hip Hop Action Network, petitioned those in the hip-hop community including Snoop, Nas, and Common to help sponsor the 1500 youth leaders in their travels as well as assist in promoting the march. Commercials featuring popular hip hop artist such Wyclef Jean, Jazzy Jef, David Banner and MC Lyte in addition to comedians like Steve Harvey, Mike Epps, and Alex Thomas can be viewed on www.smallsville.net/.

      The hip hop community and hip hop artist, Hasaun says, must assume some responsibility for future of black America.

      As the march approaches, the state of black America is bleak. Black people comprise nearly half of our nation’s swelling incarcerated population of 2.1 million people, and only 13 percent of the population. On any given day one in every 21 adult black men is incarcerated. This year black women accounted for 72 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases among women in the United States, and only 50 percent of Black high-school will graduate with their class. The common denominator in all three of these issues is the pervading poverty that exist in the black community.

      Bejamin Chavis, the national director of the Million Man March, says the eradication of poverty will be at the forefront Million More Movement’s agenda. “”There are more poor black people in 2005 than in 1995, said Chavis. “The elimination of poverty has to be the top issues. We saw what happened with hurricane Katrina. The victims drowned in their own poverty.”

      Chavis, who is also the national mobilization director for the Million More Movement and the president and CEO of Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, said, “Every Tuesday night for the last 10 weeks we have had a national youth mobilization conference call with youth leaders all over the U.S. We’ve been making sure that youth not only participate in the Millions More Movement, but that they exercising leadership in many of the organizing committees across the country.

      Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition youth leaders united in the belief that Hip-Hop is an enormously influential agent for social change .

      Milton Boyd, Jr.,23, a native of Washington and a veteran youth organizer, is scheduled to speak at this year’s Millions More Movement. As one of they key organizers of the Million Youth march of 1998, he said, “The attendance of young adults in this rally is imperative. Young people in the 18-26 demographic must be involved in this political process. The [outcomes of the] decisions that are made affect them.”

      A decade ago, Boyd was only 13 and too young to participate in Minister Louis Farrakhan”s Million Man March. But this year Boyd’s graduate studies at the University of Pittsburg will take backseat to his activism.

      ”I am extremely excited and enthused to witness a gathering of such great minds. The idea is work with leaders across religious, racial, and political lines toward one common goal, to uplift their people.”

      ”The black community needs to rise up and do what they need to do to improve the future for their children,” said Sable Nelson, vice president of Howard University’s NAACP chapter. “We need to have more people involved politically and everybody educated,”  

      Nelson will oversee more than 20 other youth volunteers at the march. Our signs and t-shirts are already prepared, said Nelson, we’re ready. The volunteers responsibility during the march is to keep attendees hydrated and organized.

      Nelson strongly believes that the Millions More Movement will serves as the catalyst for positive in the Black community.

      "This march is a necessary event in American history. The Millions More Movement will address the issues that are critical to [the black] community: unity, spiritual values, political power, education, and economic empowerment," said Nelson.

      Many would argue that the Million Man March accomplished little or nothing at all. In the years following the march homicides, incarceration, and unemployment rates for black men continued to soar. And while the fact remains that a march does not equate to a movement both Nelson and Boyd are optimistic.

      ”In order to inspire a movement,” said Boyd, “You have to take small steps. With each march we took a step. The Million Man March-a step…million family march-a step. It is these steps that will bring about the movement. Out of sight out of mind, this demonstration will bring our issues to the forefront. Constantly having marches allows enlightenment to spread.”

      Organizers for the Millions More Movement recruited a diverse group of individuals to deliver speeches that speak to the minds of youth expected to attend. Grammy award winner, Kanye West, will be in attendance in addition to Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, and Erykah Badu.

      Gotti, the man who control the Bloods, street organization, in New Jersey and New York will take the podium and encourage other street organizations to unite and increase the peace in black communities.

      Yvonne Bynoe, founder of Urban Think Tank and author of Stand and Deliver: Political Activism, Leadership and Hip Hop Culture, supports the march although she will not be in attendance. According to Bynoe, marches are not proper solution to cure the ails of the black community. She says, black Americans need to analyze the roles that racism and the lack of education play maintaining the inequities that exist income, health care, HIV, and incarceration.

    ”There is institutional racism that we must be vigilant in fighting. Protest of any type in the media puts heat on politicians, but in the absence of public policy initiatives, once the march is over, the problems again fade from the public’s view,” Bynoe said.

      Hausaun says that he is working tirelessly to build a national youth caucus that will address the ills of our community for years to come. “I have a database with the names of more than 1200 youth leaders, youth networks, and youth activist. All are interested in working collectively to form a national youth caucus. Our aim is to take back economic control of our communities by keeping the money we spend in the community. We also want to create a new educational paradigm for our children. Your future is determined by what you learn during the earliest years in your education.” 

      Bynoe, in her book, surmises that public activities are cathartic. That they make people feel good, but fail to alleviate the problems. 

      However Chavis contends, the Millions More Movement is not an event. “We’re not just organizing a march,” said Chavis, “We’re building an inclusive movement that represents the varying ideological, sociological, and cultural perspectives that compose the Black community. The whole purpose is to keep people together. United. Mobilized.”