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10 reasons to attend the Million Family March
by Imam Khalid Fattah Griggs

Large social protest gatherings of one kind or another are nothing new in the nation's capitol, Washington, DC.

As a non-Muslim student for three of my four years at Howard University in the late 60s and early 70s, I had participated in innumerable massive protest demonstrations along Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues.

Yet, no previous demonstration experience could have prepared me for the historic event of October 16, 1995 dubbed The Million Man March.

The media barrage about The Million Man March piqued my curiosity about the event, but not enough for me to make a commitment to attend. As Allah would have it, I was in DC on the weekend preceding the event for a fundraiser.

The pre-event mass mobilization, coupled with the air of anticipation, persuaded me to stay a few days longer to participate. The decision to stay proved, ironically, to be a good one.

Five years, and at least four million something marches later (two Million Youth Marches, Million Women March, Million Moms March), the Million Family March is upon us. However, my decision to attend the Million Family March is not predicated on having some other reason to be in Washington, DC.

The Million Family March presents some compelling reasons why Muslims, of varying ethnic backgrounds, should attend.

Organizers of the March state that the mobilization is around a national agenda centered on public policy issues that impact the quality of life for people of all races.

Minister Benjamin Chavis Muhammad, the principle organizer for the march stated, "Our goal is to transform the political system by practicing the principle of coalition-building and by affirming a God-centered, spirit-filled, mass movement for social transformation and empowerment."

Although there are others, ten reasons why Muslims should attend the Million Family March are:

1. To build coalitions and networks with other organizations, groups, and individuals who have demonstrated concern about the quality of the social environment that all families, regardless of race or religion, have to survive in.

2. To have exposure to grassroots community leaders, and leaders of national stature at an event where the cross-fertilization of ideas can take place.

3. To demonstrate, by our mere presence alone, that Muslims are concerned about the social well-being of this land.

4. To interact, possibly for the first time, with persons different in appearance, speech, political views, and religion, drawn together because of a common vision of a better tomorrow for the families of this country.

5. To learn, if only through visualization, mobilization, organization, and education techniques from arguably some of the best organizers in the United States.

6. To help break negative stereotypes of others founded in ignorance and propaganda.

7. To provide Islamic information to potentially hundreds of individuals that you otherwise would never come in contact with.

8. To be a part of an historic social event in the US that potentially sets a tone for racial and social relationships in the 21st century.

9. To underscore in our own minds, while demonstrating to our children, that Muslims in the US are an integral part of the problem-solving process in this country.

10. To exhaust all possible opportunities to articulate the Islamic position of enjoining right conduct, and forbidding the wrong; individually and collectively.

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