This week I have watched people from various communities post about the Million Man March. This week marks the eighteenth anniversary of the March and of course I am taken back to the day of the March in my own life. I would love to post how I was this conscious chick with a thorough understanding of how profound the March was…that I stayed home and watched proudly as my then boyfriend left out the door on his way to Washington D.C. Um, no…not even.
Now, I wasn’t quite ratchet, but I was kinda unconcerned. I think apathetic is the word I’m looking for. I was in survival mode and that was it. The connectedness of it all…the survival of my people…not even a blip on my personal radar…I was swimming in the Sea of Me, as Jill Blashack Strahan would say. My life, my world, my friends, my man, my survival. That is it and all.
I did stay home from work and school that day, per the Minister’s request. But it wasn’t because I understood the Minister to be a man of God and of the people. Nor was it because I was so vested in the need for our people to atone, be organized and take responsibility for our own. Nope…not even. I stayed home because at that time all it took was a broken nail for me to call off of work. (I am proud to say I have matured since becoming self employed…a little bit…lol) Truth be told, at that time in my life, even though I grew up in Chicago and was “kicking it” (I understand the kids don’t use that terminology anymore…) on the East side of Chicago (where NOI HQ is) back then….I hadn’t the slightest idea of who Minister Farrakhan was. My interaction with the Minister consisted of a poster my boyfriend had of him on the wall in his bedroom. Plus, I had seen the Wrath of Farrakhan on In Living Color and I had seen Farrakhan on the Arsenio Hall show…but, I didn’t pay attention. Still didn’t care.
So, as some celebrate the March and travel to Tuskegee, Alabama to hear the Minister speak, I think we should think about the reason the Minister called the March. I think we should think about the steps of atonement. I think we should think about our people and how we so desperately need to collectively awaken, take responsibility for our own lives and actively get together to “do some shit“!
Sometimes as folks in a religion we think that people actually give a damn about our religion. Um, not so much. I think what makes people care enough to even investigate what we say we believe is the example we personally put forth. So, if we are all about pontificating from a soap box while our communities fall all around us, we do more damage than good (IMO). Talking about how to make marriages work when you’re on your 5th divorce don’t move me…0_o How ’bout you actually make your marriage work and then come see me…mmmk?! The only reason I ever even agreed to visit the mosque in the first place is because I saw a first hand example of someone striving to live the life he said he believed…again, not so much what he said, but what he did. (Plus, he wasn’t so hard on the eyes…but that’s another story for another blog regarding using your power for good!) What was I saying…had little flashback moment to his fine-ness then and now….Ok, ok…I was saying that he was an example of what he said…it didn’t and still doesn’t stop with just his words.
Love or hate the Minister he has been grinding on the front line for almost 60 years! Yep! Not that he grind-ed… (past tense attempt…not sure that’s even a word…lol) I’m talking about still grinding. Out there with the people, even to this day…doing more than just talking, tweeting, and posting. Don’t believe me? Listen to the Minister speak today , October 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm EST, and you will see a 80 year old man doing more in a day than most of us will ever do in a life time and looking hella healthy while doing it! Again, healthier than some half his age!
Just for the record, I don’t consider myself an individual that is doing the damn thing. As I type this blog, I am keenly aware that I should be doing more to assist in improving the lives of the disenfranchised of our society. On days like this when we talk about the March and celebrate Atonement, I think about how to parlay what I believe into a change in my life and those who come into contact with me. Not big into trying to convert people, I’m more about challenging people to accept who they are and embracing their own gifts and talents! I think about how when I interact with people (inside and outside of the mosque) people need to see the love that anyone who has experienced the Minister has seen and felt…so, not the soundbites people hear! But, ultimately I think about whether or not am I doing what God put me here to do, cuz at the end of the day, it’s about the work, not nostalgia!