14-year old among young voices at the Million Man March
November/December 1995

Two busloads of African American men from the Gainesville area attended the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. on October 16. A 14 year-old from Chicago, Alleynde Baptiste, was one of several young voices that spoke at the march:

"My grandfathers, my fathers, my brothers, I lift up my voice and raise it high, telling the stories of your children's cry, for our ability to survive the onslaught of the enemy's drugs, guns and alcohol, his prisons and his killing fields, depends directly on whether you are willing to stand up and resist the outrages that are being heaped on us as a people, and build a new society.

"Yes, the past is difficult, the odds are against you, but you must organize to find a way or make your own way. You must change today so that tomorrow may dare to be different, and when you have fought back, and regained your pride, when you have won some battles, when you are able to tell the stories of your heroism, when you can pass on to your young the tradition of struggle through examples of your having stood up for a better tomorrow. When you take control of our institutions, our media, our schools, when you maximize our economic resources towards our own benefit, when you stop making excuses, when you start standing with our mothers, when you stick it out with our families, when you start mentoring our young, when you start teaching us to be humane, then we can build a new nation of strong people. Your sons and daughters will no longer need to belong to gangs because they do belong. Our youth will no longer be seeking drugs as an escape because they would have outlets in our society to develop themselves. When you start setting the conditions for our youth to fulfill their humanity, then we will not be in despair, we will be whole, complete and hopeful.

"My fathers, you must shape the vision of tomorrow. But in order for that vision to become a reality, you must rededicate yourselves to a new beginning. Go back to your families, go raise and teach your children, go back and organize across this nation to bring about a better day for our people. Our enemies can destroy us one by one, but no one can stop one million men organized and committed."

A video of the C-SPAN coverage of the entire march is available for viewing at the Civic Media Center, 1021 W. University Ave., 373-0010. The Media Center is open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 373-0010

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