With less than 24 hours, the excitement, energy and momentum for the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March reaches a feverish pitch. The buzz on social media gets stronger and stronger by the hour as videos, pictures and status updates are filled with thoughts about movement building, revolution, and justice.
Generation X’ers and Millennials have adopted the #justiceorelse as the moniker of this struggle. New faces are emerging as young activists and organizers make themselves known. Reflections and pictures of the Historic Million Man March have resurfaced on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show solidarity, support and the power of unity.
But this clarion call for Justice is different from the great call of atonement 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, it was about the restoration of ONLY Black Men. Now, it’s about restoring the balance between ALL people — Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Veterans and Whites, within One Nation. The time is more challenging, the people have higher expectations and the future seems darker. As I organize and discuss this occasion and idea with my elders, I’m often confronted with one question: “What makes this March any different from the other ones?” Translation: Why bother? Nothing is going to change.
Well on a cool, damp Monday night something did change. On October 5th, 200 students gathered at the Student Center at a forum to discuss “What Does Justice or Else Mean to You?” The panel, which was hosted by students, both former and current, became an opportunity for students to learn about their role in the movement for justice from their greatest teachers, themselves. The forum was a rite of passage for some and a reminder for others that we are the change that we are seeking. The forum bore witness that even in the midst of pain and darkness of this moment in our country, the light of consciousness shines.
So as hopelessness, reluctance, and despair stifle those who came before me to not believe, pain, dissatisfaction and fearlessness compels the next generation to take a stand. Over the past few months of serving as one of the co-coordinators for the Local Organizing Committee, I have seen the growth of young men and women who have become convicted in their belief that they are the answer. They are, as the scriptures speak of, like Joshua, and see the Promised Land of America not filled with Giants, but as bread for their faith to devour. These young brothers and sisters now have the same vision. They don’t see challenges, but opportunities.
So as the excitement continues to build, the talk continues to empower and the spirit continues to get stronger for this “Joshua Generation.” The #JusticeOrElse Movement is now becoming THE movement of my generation. Growing, Evolving and Being the perfect idea whose time has come.