Longtime civil rights activist Dr. Benjamin Chavis has this to say about people who complain they’re tired of protest marches:
“A lot of people say they’re tired of marching. And most people who say that never did [march]. So I don’t know how you’re going to say you’re tired of marching.”
If anyone knows about marching, it’s Chavis. Although he currently heads the National Newspaper Publishers Association representing Black newspapers, he began his career in 1963 as a statewide youth coordinator in North Carolina for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also spent time at the helm of the NAACP in the mid-’90s; co-founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network with Russell Simmons; and in 1995, was the national director of the Million Man March.
Speaking on August 10 to a gathering in Martha’s Vineyard, Chavis addressed the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The first march, led by the Nation of Islam‘s Minister Louis Farrakhan and a number of civil rights leaders, brought hundreds of thousands of Black men and others to the nation’s capital to demonstrate dedication to their families and communities. As reported, on October 10 of this year, a 20th anniversary commemoration titled “Justice or Else” is planned. Said Chavis:
“So I’ve said to Minister Farrakhan, yes we’ll bring a million people back to Washington, but we just can’t have an assembly. We need to [have impact]. We have more members of the Congressional Black Caucus now than ever before. We have a sister who’s Attorney General of the United States. We have a brother who’s over the Homeland Security of the whole United States. A brother! We have a brother in the White House. So the question now is: What are we doing in our houses? What are we doing in our communities? What are we doing block by block in our communities?”
Hear what else Chavis had to say about the upcoming march in the video above.
On Monday, August 10, the Harlem Fine Arts Show hosted a panel discussion on “Race, Justice, and Where We Go From Here” in Martha’s Vineyard. Quotes in this article come from that event. About 100 guests convened at the Harbor View Hotel in the island’s Edgartown section to participate in the discussion. Moderated by NewsOne’s editorial director, Sheryl Huggins Salomon, the panel included NNPA president Dr. Benjamin Chavis, pastor Jonathan “Jay” Augustine of St. Paul AME Church in New Orleans, American Urban Radio Network’s White House Correspondent April Ryan, journalist Pamela Newkirk, and Wellesley Health Service director Vanessa Britto, MD.
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