Million Man March 19th Anniversary

Administrator on October 20, 2014, 7:48 am 813 3
Million Man March 19th Anniversary

Jamaica will be one of the venues for the celebration of the 19th Anniversary of the Million Man March that was organised by Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. It was nineteen years ago on October 16th, 1995 that an ambitious march to Washington DC was made by black men and their supporters from all across the United States. The aim of that march was to provide an opportunity for black men to renew their commitment to being better husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and men; confront the contemporary realities affecting them; shoulder their responsibilities; and seek reconciliation of differences between themselves.

Every year since this event there has been an annual commemoration of this march and the ideals it represented. Black men and their supporters around the United States and the world have been reminded of the commitments they have taken and the changes in their realities that must be maintained. Profound changes in the way black men related to each others and to people, as well as their image were expected. Such changes included the replacement of negative stereotypes of the black man with a positive image, the increased involvement of black men in civil activism, and the greater involvement of black men in community development.

Jamaica was chosen as the venue for this 19th Anniversary celebration partly because of the close connection with the island that Minister Farrakhan has (this is where his father came from). Jamaica as the choice for this event was also driven by the critical issues facing the country and the Caribbean that need to be addressed. The Jamaican government has welcomed this event and the broadcast of this event will bring it wider appeal. The major issues for examination include the matters affecting youth, particularly the male youth who are still caught in the mire of anti-social behaviour, crime and violence, as well as vicitimisation. The matter of regional unity within the Caribbean is a theme expected to be tackled during the public conference on Sunday, October 19th.

How significant is this event for Jamaicans? The fact that the issues to be addressed are crucial matters affecting Jamaican males makes this event something to watch closely. Jamaican men have for a long time displayed irresponsible behaviour, particularly in relation to their roles in the family. Sociological and academic studies, including notable works by Dr. Herbert Gayle, have been conducted on the behaviours, attitudes and beliefs of the Jamaican male. Much have been observed about the male marginalisation as well as male vulnerability to the negatives in the Jamaican society. For example, young Jamaican males are both the perpetrators and victims of violent crimes and few have managed to captialise on opportunities offered by education that are available within the formal economic sector.

An objective of the Million Man March Anniversary event in Jamaica is to enable more Jamaican men to respond to the call to atone for their failure to accept responsibility as heads of their families, and to claim their rights to justice. Truth be told, it may be difficult for many Jamaican men to claim headship in some of their scattered families as they have also encroached on the families of others. Think of "Joe grind". Evidence also show that a number of Jamaican males do not know who their biological families are, whether it be their ancestors or their off springs. Family life in Jamaica has for a long time been seriously eroded as a result of the choices made by many Jamaican men and their partners. If nothing else is achieved by this event at least an important message of reconciliation, atonement and responsibility would have been delivered.


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