October 1, 2020

Jamaica welcomes Million Man March

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By Richard B. From The Final Call

 

Nation of Islam welcomed home to Jamaica as final planning for Oct. 19 gathering in Caribbean underway

mindavid_jamaica_09-23-2014KINGSTON, Jamaica – Leaders and officials who met with a Nation of Islam delegation embraced the movement, its mission and its leader during a visit to this Caribbean nation to officially announce the Oct. 19 commemoration of the 2014 anniversary of the Million Man March in this capital city.

Led by Ishmael Muhammad, the Student National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the group met with the Opposition Leader, the mayor of Kingston and her staff and with the president of a theological college and others as part of preparations for the 19th anniversary of the historic gathering that drew two million men to Washington, D.C. as part of a movement for atonement, reconciliation and responsibility, which will be the themes for the gathering in Jamaica.

This will also be the first time that the commemoration has been held outside of the United States. Min. Farrakhan will deliver the keynote address from the National Arena in Kingston.

minishmael_jamaica_09-23-2014James Samuels, chairman of the Kingston Metropolitan Region Resort Board, estimated that the Nation of Islam visit could bring more than $15 million into the country. “Most importantly, it will afford us the opportunity of showing off to the world the extraordinary capacity of our city to host events of this magnitude,” said Mr. Samuels at a Sept. 11 press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston detailing plans for an event expected to draw participants from the United States, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Given members of the Nation of Islam outside of the United States, Believers with Caribbean roots will likely come from as far away as Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Million Man March caused many of us to consider the marginalization of young men in Jamaica and the need for unity, self-help and self-determination, Mr. Samuels added.

Those qualities were also espoused by the Honorable Marcus Garvey, one of Jamaica’s national heroes, and having Min. Farrakhan and his followers here will be a historic milestone, he said.

minishmael_jamaica_09-23-2014a“We are indeed very proud to be given the opportunity to show off our city to this awesome group of religious persons,” said Mr. Samuels.

The event is also part of Kingston’s efforts to target the global religious market for travel and could mean greater use of quality bed and breakfast accommodations, which may more directly benefit ordinary Jamaicans, he said.

Kingston is the heartbeat of Jamaica and see itself as the cultural center of the Caribbean and a place of intellectual discourse, Mr. Samuels continued.

“We welcome you to Jamaica, we welcome you to our city,” he said.

Kingston city manager Robert P. Hill, who opened with “Bismillah Ir-rahman, Ir-rahim: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,” gave spirited remarks, referring to the Minister as the “holy apostle.”

He offered greetings on behalf of Mayor Angela Brown Burke who met privately with the delegation the previous day.

minishmael_jamaica_09-23-2014bThis universe has conspired to produce this event and it is a transformational event, he said. “I believe on Oct. 19 something will be reset in Jamaica; I believe when the Honorable Minister touches the podium and shares his spirit and knowledge for the upliftment to the people of Jamaica, we will see transformation in its fullest and most enriched form,” he added.

“We believe the Nation of Islam in fact has created and rolled the pitch for community empowerment, community development, youth empowerment, and in particular, a focus on our youth and our young men,” said Mr. Hill.

It is time to come together to ensure that Jamaican society is moving in the right direction, he said.

The themes of self-reliance and responsibility are part of the thinking of Kingston and the Minister has a divine message from the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and his teacher, Master Fard Muhammad, Mr. Hill continued. He also shared how he watched all except three or four webcasts of the Minister’s Time and What Must Be Done series online.

On Oct. 20 may you find yourself spiritually enriched and motivated to build and move Jamaica in a more progressive way, he said.

MMM_jamaica_banner2014Chris Jarrett of the Kingston chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association estimated that $3.7 million could be spent on hotel rooms alone for the October event.

He estimated 2,600 hotel rooms will be occupied in Kingston and plans call for a cultural village to showcase the varied aspects of Jamaican life and tradition.

It is very exciting to have the spiritual sharing, cultural sharing and involvement of the Nation in trying to enrich youth and Black Jamaicans in general, he said.

We will be happy to have Min. Farrakhan and his followers with us, Mr. Jarrett said.

noi_delegation_jamaica_09-23-2014a

Mayor Angela Brown Burke of Kingston and Town Clerk Robert P. Hill meet with Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad.

Ishmael Muhammad opened his remarks by offering condolences on the passing of Roger Clarke, a highly respected government minister.

He continued by sharing how the Million Man March came as the Minister was guided to see the need for a counterweight to the negative image of Black males, increased tension with police forces and fratricidal conflict among Black males.

The march resulted in a recommitment to be better husbands, fathers, providers, protectors and community builders, said the son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. There was great unity and oneness Oct. 16, 1995 and there was not one arrest in Washington, D.C., he noted.

noi_delegation_jamaica_09-23-2014The world saw a vastly different image of the Black male and a true image that reflected God, he added.

After the march, Black men became more active socially and politically with increased membership in organizations, increased voter registration and increased adoptions, Ishmael Muhammad said.

Black men curbed some of the violence and began to make amends with one another, he said.

With escalating crime in Jamaica and the Caribbean, increased violence and greater incarceration, the march message has resonance today in the Caribbean, he said.

Black youth in the region are troubled, hopeless and in despair because elders have failed to prepare a proper future and give direction that will lead young people to fulfill their purpose and great destiny, Ishmael Muhammad said.

There is no better time and no better place for this commemoration than the Caribbean and the event hopes to bring together diverse people and foster interaction between activists, clergy, artists to help decrease poverty, increase literacy, improve education, and strengthen family values, he explained.

A message of hope and healing that allows us to accept our responsibility to change our condition is critical at this make or break time in the Caribbean and the world, he said.

David Muhammad of Trinidad and Clive Muhammad with Believers in Kingston following press conference announcing Million Man March commemoration in Jamaica.

“Minister Farrakhan feels he owes a debt to the Caribbean people who have helped to mould him and make him into what he has become,” said Ishmael Muhammad.

“We as Caribbean people underestimate the impact that this region has had on Black thought and the global struggle against injustice and oppression,” said David Muhammad, the Minister’s representative for the eastern Caribbean and Trinidad.

Citing the contributions of Marcus Garvey, founders of the Pan Africanist Movement, repatriation demands made by former slaves as well as other scholars and writers, David Muhammad pointed to the great minds and works that have come out of the Caribbean.

Min. Farrakhan’s father was born in Jamaica and his mother was born in St. Kitts, he observed.

Min. Farrakhan is sensitive to the Caribbean as a haven of consciousness and wants to spread consciousness throughout the region, said David Muhammad.

Work is underway to broadcast the Oct. 19 message throughout the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America, he said. The message should be historical in content and outreach based on countries touched by this occasion, said David Muhammad.

The Nation of Islam delegation also included Student Minister Hugh Muhammad, who has been facilitating work on the ground; Ademah Muhammad, who has been handling planning for the convention; Final Call editor Richard B. Muhammad, Final Call general manager Fontaine Muhammad, and Final Call Video Supervisor Duane Muhammad; as well as Clive Muhammad, the minister’s representative in Jamaica, local laborers and the Believers in the country.

Ishmael Muhammad and the delegation met Sept. 9 with the Honorable Andrew Holness, leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew. He is a former minister of education and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party. Mr. Holness endorsed the coming Million Man March anniversary Oct. 19 at the National Arena in Kingston. “Jamaica needs hope,” said the Opposition Leader. There must also be a spiritual understanding, a feeling of destiny and acknowedgement that we have strayed from the path, he said. There is a need especially for young people to have hope and understand they cannot retreat from involvement in government, said Mr. Holness. If youth retreat, things can be left to those who really do not have their best interests at heart, he added. Youth must understand they have a stake in Jamaica and a message is needed that will help change lives and get people to see there is hope, he continued. There must also be moral leadership among the political and spiritual leaders, Mr. Holness said. But he welcomed the Minister coming to Jamaica and said his party would have high level representation at the arena as he will be traveling at the time of the gathering at the National Arena.

Dr. Henley Morgan, who works with those who struggle on the margins of Jamaican society, was happy about the prospect of the Minister coming to Jamaica. But he feels a dialogue is needed with the Christian community as a dialogue occurred with the Jewish community on a previous visit by the Minister.

The major Christian leadership is wary of the Muslim movement, while people in the pews are not, he said. It is nothing that cannot be resolved by dialogue, said Dr. Morgan, who was educated in the United States and lives and works in “Trenchtown,” one of Jamaica’s cultural hotbeds and a place that has been plagued by struggle and poverty. He changed plans to host an event with pastors Oct. 19 since the Minister will be delivering a major address the same day.

“There is a common enemy we face globally and locally,” said Dr. Morgan. He was pleased and impressed that the Million Man March commemoration was not controlled by any individual or governmental entity.

Among ordinary Jamaicans, there is a feeling that justice is lacking and that a country democratic and controlled by Blacks on the surface is controlled by Washington through the IMF, said Dr. Morgan.

Dr. Morgan said he was touched by the Minister’s visit to Trenchtown when he came to Jamaica in 2011. There is still a lot of work to be done here perhaps more between classes than the races, he added.

Junior Lincoln has known the Minister since 1977 and previously organized a visit by the Minister to Jamaica. He is a developer and a respected figure in the music industry.

“Every one of his visits have been relevant,” said Mr. Lincoln. The Minister wants to do something in Jamaica as a base but really for the Caribbean, the timing is right, he said. “It is also extremely special because of where we are as a people, especially our young people. Every nation in the world will tell you that the youth are the future of every country and it is so. Yet the youth of our country and especially the Caribbean have not been given the right examples for them to excel.”

Mr. Lincoln, who works to improve conditions in Trenchtown for youngsters, said, “This visit is about young children, young people, direction and it also goes a bit further because it will be taking in the Caribbean, which we have found very hard to unite.”

Countries that fought and killed each other have formed a European Union, while the Caribbean has yet to come together, he noted.

Those two things, getting youth to focus on the positive side of life and helping the Caribbean to unite are what this trip is about, Mr. Lincoln said.

IMAGES:

Photos: Richard B. Muhammad Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad speaks at press conference announcing Million Man March Commemoration in Kingston, Jamaica.

Mayor Angela Brown Burke of Kingston and staff, welcome N.O.I. delegation.

Min. Ishmael Muhammad and delegation, with Dr. Majorie Lewis, President of the United Theological College of the West Indies.

Min. Ishmael Muhammad with Student Min. Hugh Muhammad (left) and Student Min. David Muhammad.

Members of Fruit of Islam hand out fliers in Kingston for Oct. 19 Million Man March commemoration.

Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad with Student Ministers Hugh Muhammad,

For more on this story go to: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/World_News_3/article_101774.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

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