Over the weekend, thousands gathered in Washington D.C. for the “Justice Or Else” rally which called for an end to anti-Black racism, and marked the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. A host of activists and celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Sean Combs, Common, and Russell Simmons were in attendance, but many wondered if this rally, would result in actual changes in the lives of Black folks.

Like the original Million Man March, the “Justice or Else” rally was organized by the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, who gave a wide-ranging, two-hour speech praising Black Lives Matter organizers and protestors and issuing several demands, including “an immediate end to police brutality and mob attacks” as well as land.

During his speech, Farrakhan admonished men who “disrespect a female” because women are of God; told Black men and women to stop using the word “bitch” because “every woman is from the creator;” and instructed women to cover themselves and to steer clear of aborting “the next Malcolm X or Martin Luther King.”

While it was great to see such a large gathering of peaceful Black folks come together to demand justice, I couldn’t help but ask….now what?

After the original Million Man March, which was billed as “a day of atonement” for Black men, not much has changed. Black folks are still being swept up into prisons, police violence continues to be a problem, many of our schools are failing, and the wealth gap between Black and white Americans has continued to widen.

Twenty years after Farrakhan implored Black men to step up and take responsibility for the Black family and the state of Black folks in America, we still find ourselves facing difficult challenges.

During his speech, Farrakhan acknowledged the seduction of just showing up at the rally and not doing much else.

“If this is a day, and we come out doing what we were doing before we got here, then this is vanity,” he told the crowd.

Twenty-years after the original Million Many March it’s difficult to point to concrete wins from the day, but will the “Justice or Else” rally be any different, or will it be, as Farrakhan cautioned, an exercise in vanity?

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  • Charles Johnson

    i don’t think it’s fair nor accurate to gauge the effectiveness of a DAY when change really occurs over decades. the civil rights movement never really ended but has taken on the many forms with different iterations.

  • noirluv45

    Until we build an infrastructure independent of them how will we ever gain economic freedom or justice? Peaceful protesting isn’t working, and we can see that in light of the new details regarding Tamir Rice and how his murder was justifiable.The system of White supremacy must shift and somehow we have to MAKE it shift. We have to make it unbeneficial and uncomfortable for them to continue to the school to prison pipeline, to stop police brutality, to end economic disparity, and so on.

    • Rizzo

      my thoughts; so, here goes: we have to become a monolith – – shared purpose, shared thinking, shared goals, shared responses; i.e., object oriented thinking.

  • [email protected]

    As the great commenters have mention, we need to create a massive infrastructure independently if we want to get true freedom, justice, and liberation. We are known for marching. Yet, we need to build too. We need more engineers, computer technicians, architects, teachers, lawyers, etc. We have massive creativity. One thing that I can say is about the Great Recession. The Great Recession crippled much of the black community in the States. The Great Recession increased unemployment, stripped economic resources in our communities, etc. That recession was caused in part of the greed for many banks. Some of these banks used bad loans which exploited poor communities. Upper and rich black folks have maintained massive wealth (even they experience racism) while the poor and middle class black people still struggle. I think the MMM make the problems in our community more transparent for many. We have seen drops in the teenage pregnancy rate. We have seen the growth of black women-owned businesses. We have seen a decline of the overall crime rates in America. Yet, the economic recession of the 21st century, the War on Drugs, the prison industrial complex, and other socioeconomic problems still represent how far we have to go.

    • elle D.

      Brother T, you always bring the Truth-Amen to all of this here-

    • [email protected]

      Good Afternoon Sister elle D :)

      Thank you Sister. You bring the truth too Friend.

    • elle D.


    • [email protected]

      Thank you again Friend. ;)

    • [email protected]

      Goodnight and Bless you like always.

    • elle D.

      Brother T, your words are a treasure beyond measure. Thank you.

    • [email protected]

      How Sweet of You Sister and Friend. :)

      You’re Welcome.

    • elle D.

      You’re also welcome Friend. Have a good evening Truthseeker.

    • [email protected]

      Goodnight Sister.

      God Bless You.

      Your words are a blessing too. I wish even more blessings for you.

  • Awaiting the “Black Commerce” where all people going purchase exclusive color really Louis projects this. Haven’ t heard this numerous times different occasions audience familiar with bigotry sadly there part of problem. Listing to wise tales, what

    majority doing about how many perceive racism Blacks slander independent minds
    whom bring prosperity. Louis “Marabout” not one, of them agitator where is “NOI”
    economic and educational programs devoid of resolution typical Blackness going
    gather then. Achieve nothing, “patronising” no foundation expect solidarity to many
    only have. Privy to chosen opinions say Louis is answer why stagnation and ignorance is prevalent 20yrs. same old nonsense. “Black family and commerce is
    there hope? Guess wait someday Louis march 2025 going quell friction keep waiting!