JBryant3

Rev. Jamal Bryant (AFRO File Photo)

The 20th anniversary of the Million Man March is taking place in Washington D.C. on Oct. 10. Like the original Million Man March, the event will be led by Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

The first Million Man March took place on Oct. 16, 1995 as a call for justice and equality for Blacks. On that day more than 1 million Black men of different religious backgrounds appeared at the National Mall to march in solidarity.

Twenty years later, the Nation of Islam is still working to gain equality for Blacks.

Rev. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant, pastor at West Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple Church, is attending this year’s Million Man March. He is the co-chair of the march and will also be a speaker.

In an interview with the AFRO, Bryant said he caught Minster Farrakhan’s attention after protesting Freddie Gray’s death.

“After the Freddie Gray uprising, Minister Farrakhan saw me on television and requested a meeting with me,” Bryant said. Bryant also took the stage twenty years ago when he was the director of the NAACP’s youth and college division.

As a guest speaker at the event, Bryant is prepared to speak about a wide variety of topics. He is hopeful that the effects of the Million Man March will last past Oct. 10.

Topics will range “from protests to policy,” Bryant said. “What is the next step so this is not just a feel-good moment, but we’re putting together some executable action plans.”

Bryant is also taking part in the logistics of the March.

“Coming up on the twentieth anniversary, he said he wanted some younger leaders around him,” Bryant said.

The pastor has high expectations for the event and is optimistic that it will “strengthen the tie of comradery.”

He also encourages organizers from different cities to work together after the March.

Bryant wants The Million Man March to have effects not just in D.C., but also in places like Baltimore. To that end, he is bringing several buses full of his congregants to the March.

“Baltimore young people won’t get frustrated and feel like they’re outliers,” Bryant said. “But they’ll know they are in a great army of people who share their sentiment and frustration. We won’t have to reinvent the wheel but we’ll learn how to just put spinners on it and make it work better.”