Era of marches over?Ian Zeitzer
On Monday, Oct. 16 I decided to stake claim in the future of America and head down to the National Mall to participate in the Million Family March. Although fully aware that semi-affluent Jewish college students were not necessarily the audience the Nation of Islam intended to host, I never miss an opportunity to witness history in the making.
Unlike the Million Mom March this past summer and the Million Man March five years ago, the Million Family March seemed more like a picnic than a rally. I learned this was actually the goal of the MFM – to create a united world family reunion-like atmosphere under God, regardless of color, creed, affluence and political affiliation.
The expansiveness of the event was almost unfathomable. Stages were set up at the U.S. Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and the Ellipse, with continuous speeches being delivered from a variety of ethnic leaders. A tent village was constructed on Constitution Avenue where vendors sold everything from food to sneakers to CD’s to books. The possibilities of the event were astounding; and at a time when peace is on everyone’s mind, the hosts of the MFM had a real chance to make a difference while the world was listening.
It is a shame none of these possibilities were realized. The speakers went largely ignored by the inattentive crowd. Who could blame them, though? The beautiful weather made the day much more conducive to picnicking than protesting for social change. The most interesting note to the MFM was that it was on a Monday, and so kids had to miss school to attend even though education was one of the issues at the forefront of discussion by organizers.
The event’s auspicious host, Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, delivered the keynote address rambling on almost endlessly. He spoke for over an hour, remarkably not making one coherent point that the crowd could take with them and use after the MFM in an effort to promote unity and family. As a Jewish American, one could say that I am inherently biased against Farrakhan and his teachings because of his past anti-Semitic viewpoints. I then challenge any GW student to listen to his speech from the MFM, and if you find a valuable opinion, please let me know.
GW students, notorious for their activism, seemingly sat this one out. In all honesty, they did not miss much. On a day when Martin Luther King III addressed an attempted one million families in the same spot where his father rallied for peace and unity over 30 years ago, it truly appeared as though the day of the powerful and meaningful protest march had indeed ended.
-The writer is a senior majoring in tourism and hospitality management.