Monday, August 24, 2015

Justice and the Legacy of Freedom’s Struggle



By William P. Muhammad


As the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March draws nigh, from the halls of power and policy to the streets of major American cities, a cacophony of media voices, political pundits, and frontline protesters continue their boisterous clamor over the application of justice in the United States.   

In nearly every state of the union, amidst the mass incarceration of Blacks and darker skinned people, paramilitary policing procedures, and the tyranny of suppression, Black Americans, and others sharing similar experiences, have now entered the valley of decision between which stands the final choices of either a promised land, leading to meaningful change, or a wilderness of an unsustainable business as usual.
Within this context, and for over 40 years, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has worked tirelessly for the liberation of our people, all the while sharing the tried and tested methods of his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, giving us an example of success, empowerment and independence. However, while holding the old adage true: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it,” the individual choices and decisions Black America has embraced since 1975, have proven not only Minister Farrakhan’s words truthful, but also prophetic as worsening conditions continue to undermine Black communities at a faster pace.
Consistently warning that a war on Black youth is being waged from the highest levels of society and government, the minister, and those with him, have been crisscrossing the country since the 1980s, alerting Black communities not only to the dangers facing them, but also to tangible self-help programs that will lift them from their overall conditions. As the masses of Black people continue suffering from violence, uncertainty, and an increasingly overt and hostile form of racism, it is laziness, jealousy and envy, particularly among critics in the Black leadership class, who prevent or slow the successful implementation of effective solutions.

A Lesson from History
Like today, a little over 100 years ago, Black activists pressed for justice through protests, rallies, appeals to white philanthropy, and through the formation of organizations, advocacy for justice and equal treatment within American society. Spawned from the tyranny of the blatant injustices and humiliations associated with the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision, the denial of voting rights, and widespread lynching throughout both the North and the South, men such as William Monroe Trotter, Charles Edwin Bentley, Fredrick L. McGhee and W.E.B. DuBois, founded what would become known as the Niagara Movement to counter the work of Booker T. Washington, who emphasized self-help, education and entrepreneurship more than he vocalized opposition to southern segregation and Jim Crow racism.

The Niagara Movement, which at that time, called for radical changes by demanding social, economic and political equality between Blacks and Whites, subsequently engaged in a ‘battle royal’ of differing agendas where Black leadership, backed by white benefactors, newspapers and politicians, vehemently denounced one another over methods and ideology. Fostering conflicts and divisions, thereby preventing a unified effort between the northern based Niagara Movement and the southern based efforts of Booker T. Washington and his associates, the public tearing down of each other weakened their collective impact and fractured their ability to fulfill their overall goals independent of white tutelage and control.

As the Niagara Movement began its dissolution from internal disagreements and external manipulation, the NAACP was founded shortly thereafter in 1909, after deadly race riots erupted a year earlier in Springfield, Illinois. Set up and financed by white liberals and northern Jews, the activism and resources placed behind the NAACP deemphasized Booker T. Washington’s approach in favor of non-economic liberalism where concerns centering on social and political inclusion outweighed the virtues of land ownership, entrepreneurship and economic independence. As Washington’s philosophy of building an independent and self-sustaining infrastructure gave way to a civil rights agenda dependent upon white patronage and philanthropy, the die was set for the next 100 years, and the producing ethos facilitated by Washington’s efforts eventually transformed into the consuming culture that dominates Black America today. 
Looking at our collective condition 106 years later, it is clear that any activity short of a do-for-self model will not adequately challenge the social, economic and political conditions of Black people. As internal and external factors fostered division and changed the trajectory of Black progress in the early 20th century, will Black leadership once again allow hidden hands to determine our next 100 years while our communities are devastated by the consequences of unemployment, the breakup of the family, and the dismantling of public education?  
On both the national and international stage, the upcoming Justice or Else march on Washington D.C. represents the last stand of those embracing the dignity of self-determination; and for those who understand the big picture, our response to 10-10-15 will determine the destiny of Black America as the United States undergoes the greatest demographic shift in the history of its existence. Having the potential to become a watershed event regarding real change, and with an annual spending economy of $1.3 trillion, Blacks can no longer dismiss the clear pattern of snares, traps and pitfalls obstructing our way to true social, political and economic liberation on the global level. 

While many will agree with the aim and purpose of the movement, as always, some will disagree either through ignorance of its intentions, from the fear of change, or because of satisfaction with the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, selling out the legitimate grievances of our people, in the name of backroom deals, subterfuge and the seeking of favor from the former slave masters and their children, will no longer be tolerated. Our time is now, and for the sake of our children and our children’s children, we will not be condemned as the generation that refused to lay a tangible foundation for their future.   The only question is: Will you watch history unfold from the sidelines or will you become a part of the change that you seek?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dreams and Nightmares (10-10-15)


Join the Justice of Else movement!
Will you watch history unfold from the sidelines or will you become a part of the change you seek?




October 10, 2015 on The National Mall
Washington, D.C.

Want to learn more?
www.JusticeOrElse.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From The Final Call Newspaper


'We are not asking for justice, we are demanding justice'

By Richard B. Muhammad and Janiah Muhammad -Final Call Staffers- | Last updated: Aug 4, 2015 - 3:50:25 PM

Bookmark and Share

What's your opinion on this article?
Printer Friendly Page

Miami turns out for a powerful, inspiring evening with Minister Louis Farrakhan


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015.jpg
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks to a packed audience inside Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Miami, FL. Photo: Hassan Muhammad

MIAMI - When the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stepped before some 1,500 people packed into the historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church the crowd exploded with applause.
miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015b.jpg
Photos: Andrea Muhammad
What most in the crowd did not know what the 82-year-old leader had been infused with boundless energy during this trip South to promote the “Justice Or Else!” gathering planned for this fall in the Nation’s Capital. Over several days he met with leaders, youth, activists, artists and preachers and professionals in private sessions and group sessions, never tiring, never wavering, never-not-smiling.

That same energy pervaded the church where extra chairs were added to a full upstairs sanctuary. Downstairs listeners endured a sweltering heat to hear sound piped in via speaker as event organizers were forced to find a place for people who had come out and refused to leave somewhere in the building.

Then outside others gathered around loud speakers placed outside, sitting on street curbs, on cars in a park across the streets and seemingly anywhere close enough to hear a clarion call for justice.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015c.jpg
Women in line outside of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Miami Photo: Andrea Muhammad
The message was well worth the heat, the lines wrapped around the corner and a bright sunny day that turned into a humid night. “How can we charge others with the crime of killing us without due process and lying about it when we are killing each other? And we won’t march on ourselves, nor will we even rise up to condemn ourselves for what we are doing to ourselves. And in the gangs when we kill we don’t talk, so nobody is arrested and charged with murder and brought to what is called justice,” said Min. Farrakhan getting quickly into the subject of justice and his demand for justice planned for Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C., as part of the Justice Or Else gathering on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

The gathering will be no frolic, no picnic, no folly, but a serious demand for justice placed before a government rife with injustice and a crisis in police killings of Blacks, Native Americans and others inside America. Such a demand called for an assessment of conditions and confronting White oppression on one side and Black fratricidal violence on the other.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015d.jpg
Photo: Richard B. Muhammad, Photo: Andrea Muhammad
“And the police when they kill us, they put the lie out first and then back the lie up with the institutions of government of White Supremacy. And so even though we march and even though we fight against this injustice it continues unabated. So we have decided on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March we want to go to Washington.

“We want to go back to Washington to demand of our government what we rightly deserve and what we have paid for with our sweat and our blood,” the Minister declared. “But this time we are not asking for justice, we are demanding justice and as Frederick Douglass says, ‘power concedes nothing without a demand.’ And I added to that, power concedes nothing without a demand that is backed by power.”

“So what is the power that should back our righteous demand for justice? It is the unequaled power of our unity as a people. We have never ‘gone united.’ We stay as little tribes and factions, gathering only for the moment and then scattering after the moment. But when you and I can go as a people, not Muslim and Christian and Baptists, and Methodists, and Crips and Bloods, and native tribes, but go as the original inhabitants of our planet to demand justice and some of this earth we can call our own,” he said.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015e.jpg
Photo Hassan Muhammad
Between men and women there is a demand from nature that must be satisfied to bring unity and harmony, the Minister said. The man must give first as the maintainer, the protector, the provider for the woman in his life and the woman will respond to an unspoken demand out of the beauty of her nature, he said. But, the Minister noted, Satan has turned things upside down with women working, factories closed, and Blacks left in the lurch, unable to create jobs and unwilling to support Black entrepreneurs. And Blacks bereft of the knowledge of self beg others to do what Blacks must do for themselves, he continued. Those who provide goods and services take money out of an
underdeveloped and disrespected community without substantial reinvestment.

Such social engineering leaves Uncle Sam ready to recruit fearless Black youth in the armed forces, and the U.S. government helped foment the crack cocaine epidemic by placing drugs and weapons in the ‘hood to promote fratricide and Black discord, he said. The wise of this nation, and leaders like J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime FBI director, know it is time for the rise of Black people and are determined to avert the destruction and fall of White supremacy, the Minister noted.

But like a serpent, Whites are deceptive, trying to keep control of the once-slaves who are destined to go free by monitoring their activities, their leaders, their actions and even their social media posts to cull information, he said.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015f.jpg
It was standing room only for a Thursday night message from Min Farrakhan in Miami.
“They would like to charge us with radicalizing our people by telling the truth, but every time they kill a Black man or beat up a Black woman or unjustly stop us for traffic violation and then kill us, we are being radicalized. They are the ones who are radicalizing us. All we are doing is telling the truth of what they are doing,” Minister Farrakhan thundered as the crowd roared back and started to applaud loudly.

But, he said the slaughter of Blacks must cease because “we make it so difficult for us to go to Washington with the strength which is necessary to confront the evil of our government in depriving Blacks and Browns, native people and some of their own poor White people.”

miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015h.jpg
Photos: Richard B. Muhammad
Later in his message, the Minister called for 10,000 fearless men willing to make the ultimate sacrifice rather than live under tyranny. There comes a time in the life of every people who yearn for freedom where death is sweeter than to continue life under oppression, he said.

Blacks must protect their lives if the federal government refuses to intervene when Black lives are unjustly and the principle of a life of a life is laid out in scripture, the Minister explained. “Death is sweeter than to continue to live and bury our children while White folks give the killers hamburgers. Death is sweeter than watching us slaughter each other to the joy of a 400-year-old enemy. Death is sweeter. The Qur’an teaches persecution is worse than slaughter then it says, retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain. Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breasts of those whose children have been slain. If the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us, stalk them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling,” said Min. Farrakhan. The crowd rose to its feet and gave another standing ovation.

The Minister again called for a boycott of Xmas holiday spending as a response to oppression and the disrespect of Black life. He cited the last public speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 in Memphis, where the civil rights leader spoke of inflicting economic pain on those who have oppressed Black people. Dr. King was more than a dreamer, he was a freedom fighter who awoke to the American nightmare, the Minister said. The way to inflict economic pain is by withdrawing money from the forces of oppression and using our combined economic might create a reality for ourselves, said Min. Farrakhan. He urged the audience to reject pagan celebrations in the name of Jesus and to spend time with loved ones, not exchanging gifts, but heartfelt discussions about the reality of the man Jesus and his life’s work, the Minister said.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015i.jpg
Photos: Andrea Muhammad
Men, women and children of different backgrounds filled Mt. Zion. Although doors were supposed to open at 6 p.m., the church was already halfway full by then. The line extended down the sidewalk and around the building as men and women entered through separate entrances, but sat side by side in the historic house of worship. By 6:30 p.m., the church sanctuary was full and people had to begin filling a steamy overflow room.

Though all came to hear Minister Farrakhan, everyone had different reasons or paths that ended July 30 for the Thursday evening message.

Since there was a social media campaign to promote Minister Farrakhan’s visit to Miami, many found out via Facebook and Twitter. “I saw a post from my friend on Facebook that Minister Farrakhan was going to be here, and I was like ‘Oh my God,’ ” said 37-year-old Kirsten Porter, who is from Minneapolis. “I’m hoping to get motivation, inspiration, and spiritual upliftment.”

Some had a direct connection to the Nation of Islam.
Donna Addy, who is originally from Detroit, but now lives in Boynton Beach, Fla., grew up in the Nation of Islam. However, she didn’t continue to attend mosque meetings throughout her life. Over the past few months, she’s been making the hour long drive from Boynton Beach to Miami to attend the Sunday meetings at Muhammad Mosque No. 29.


miami_justiceorelse_08-11-2015j.jpg
Photo: Andrea Muhammad
“I’m here to see the Minister and to hear the truth,” she said, her daughter Joy at her side. “If I had stuck with the Nation of Islam, imagine how much better I would be. So now, I’m exposing it to my daughter so she can get it early.”

Asha Starks, a 22-year-old attending Barry University in Miami, felt since she was part of the student movement, she should hear different viewpoints. Her grandfather aided Minister Louis Farrakhan during the Million Man March in 1995, which helped to shape her stance on social rights today.

 “We need organization. There’s a lot of messed up stuff, and if we just stand by, nothing can change,” Ms. Starks said.
One of Minister Farrakhan’s main messages during his Justice Or Else tour across the country has been unity. Many say unity is needed in the community.
Patricia Atkinson, a 44-year-old woman born in New York with Jamaican roots, considers herself to be newly conscious. “Unity,” she said. “It’s time. So much is going on. When we have knowledge of self, we can unify. We need to support our own businesses so we can get respect from others.”
Minister Farrakhan has not only been pushing for unity among Blacks, but unity among Native Americans, Hispanics and others who have suffered injustice.

Wayne “Smoke” Snellgrove, a native of Saskatewan, Canada, was a guest of Minister Farrakhan during a leadership meeting for indigenous people and Latinos days before his speech at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Mr. Snellgrove works for Indian Voices newspaper, which promotes education and public awareness about Native Americans and their issues. He loved what the Minister had to say and wanted more, so he found himself at the church.

“I want to hear more of the truth,” Mr. Snellgrove said. “Any chance I can get to be with and grow with my brothers and sisters, and share my spirituality.”

“I hope to gain motivation to keep fighting for the cause because it gets tiresome,” she said. “You just need to be in the company of other like minds,” said Vanessa Gonzalez, a 31-year-old Latina.
Both Mr. Snellgrove and Ms. Gonzalez say it is time to unite.

“I think 10.10.15 is a great way to be with my brothers and sisters,” Mr. Snellgrove said.
“It’s amazing that it’s been 20 years since the last march,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “I’m grateful I get to participate. It’s sad that we’re still fighting, but at least we have a voice. We need to unify. We can’t call for justice and only have it for one people, only have it for Blacks and Hispanics. I mean, Asians experience injustice, too. We need to unite to win together.”

Once Minister Farrakhan mounted the podium after a deafening round of applause, many got what they came for. Minister Farrakhan not only touched on unity in the community, but he also spoke about unity between the nature of man and the nature of woman.

“He (God) put in the nature of woman a demand,” Minister Farrakhan said. “First, the demand is on the man. The man is supposed to be the maintainer and the provider of the women in his life.”
For a portion of his lecture, Minister Farrakhan focused on the woman and how she should be treated.
“A woman is more than an object of pleasure,” he said. “She is the second self of God and she is a god herself.”

Minister Farrakhan provided all listeners with an empowering and motivating message, letting them know that they have the power within themselves to do great things.

“The Bible calls man not a glory of God, but the glory of God,” he said. “In your best state, you reflect him perfectly. When you look in the mirror, you don’t see that. But that’s not God’s fault. You are a caricature of what God intended you to be.”

The Minister also enlightened many on what being a believer in Jesus Christ really means and dealt with the need for justice.

“The more we are denied,” Minister Farrakhan said, “the longer we are denied, the stronger the answer to that cry.”

Minister Farrakhan urged the audience to study the last few years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life before he was assassinated. “They didn’t assassinate him because he had a dream. He was assassinated because he woke up,” he said. “Justice is what Dr. King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman wanted.”

In his last public speech, Dr. King talked on the need for land, the need to spread economic pain to those who practice injustice and supporting Black banks and institutions, the Minister observed.
Listeners shot to their feet many times to applaud the Minister’s unique message. After closing out in prayer, several guests left the church talking about what they had heard. Others crowded around the church on the sidewalk and across the street, buying DVDs and books of the Nation of Islam and asking when they could attend the mosque in Miami.

Minister Farrakhan gave listeners many things to think about when it came to improving their lives and the state of their communities. After hearing Minister Farrakhan’s lecture, Britney Stephens left with a better idea of who he is and what he’s about.

“What stuck out to me was that he was talking about how a lot of people say they’re with the Lord, but they’re not in Christ,” she said. “That’s something people have to think about.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Shameka Thomas felt the Minister’s lecture was powerful and intense.
“It’s what we need to wake up, especially about Black men and women and taking back our land,” she said. “His talk about Jesus and how he was a revolutionary and how we’re all one and in Christ and that there is no distinction stood out to me. Christ was about love but also about war.”

After hearing his message, many people was excited to be in Washington, D.C. on 10-10-15.
Arleen White, an activist originally from Jamaica who lost her 14-year-old son to gun violence, felt Justice Or Else is long overdue.

“We really need to unite,” she said. “It’s time. We’ve been victimized for too long and we need to fight for the hour and for our children. Now it’s time for us to really stand up because if we don’t stand for anything, we’ll die for anything.”

For Michael Lowe, it was just nice to see Minister Farrakhan in person.
“I got more of what I’m used to getting from him,” Mr. Lowe said. “Him bringing the truth like he does. I hope to follow him in his footsteps.”