COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Midlands group is inviting the community to join them as the recreate the historic Million Man March, this weekend, in the wake of national unrest after the death of George Floyd. That’s happening at the Martin Luther King Junior Park in Columbia, Sunday, June 14.
The original Million Man March happened on October 16, 1995, as thousands of demonstrators gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in an effort to encourage black men to make a difference in their communities and to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding African American men.
Local group, ROAN, which stands for Rise of a Nation, is looking to recreate that march in Columbia.
One organizer, Eddie Eades, says the coverage of nationwide protests after the killing of George Floyd has, at times, shown black men in a negative light. He says it’s time shift the focus away from rioting and back to the message.
“Just shifting that narrative a little bit into what we really are as a community, what we really are as young men, as young African American men. As a young African American man, myself, I’ve got friends who are in different arenas, different professional arenas, who convey a different image, convey a power about who we are as people. So, I think what has really saddened me with everything that has been going on is just seeing the best of us not being shown as consistently,” said Eades.
Along with the Million Man March, Sunday, there will also be the Million Teen March happening at the same time.
Organizers say this will be a multi-generational event with volunteer coordinators and security teams in place to ensure the event remains peaceful.
There will also be water stations available.
The march begins at MLK Park at 11 a.m, Sunday.
Women are also encouraged to participate and everyone is asked to wear dress attire.