Several Florida A&M University students who attended the Millions More Movement are eager to spread its message of unity and activism.
“It was amazing to see all the black people together on one accord,” said Lance Williamson, a 21-year-old biology student from Americus, Ga.
The Movement, organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, addressed topics such as hurricane Katrina, youth involvement and black entrepreneurship.
FAMU African-American history professor David Jackson called the Movement a “watershed event.”
“It is significant in that it is a continuum in terms of black expression,” Jackson said.
“It, like the March on Washington, was a forum for blacks to raise issues and concerns with the government, to create international and national pressure for (the government) to do things it wouldn’t do otherwise.”
Williamson said he did not attend the Million Man March because his mother thought he was too young, so he “promised” himself he would attend the Movement.
Emil Muhammad, 18, a sophomore from Queens, N.Y., said his father and uncle attended the March, and he followed in their footsteps by attending the Movement.
“What better way to move forward and take my stance?” asked Muhammad, a biological and agricultural systems engineering student.
These students said they were disappointed that only a few carloads of FAMU students made the 13-hour trip to the nation’s capital.
Despite efforts to reserve buses for the event, Muhammad said there was not enough participation. He said some students chose not to travel because they said they couldn’t pay for the trip. He said they were not proactive in raising money to offset the $85 roundtrip cost.
Committee coordinator Rochelle Muhammad said at a panel discussion Monday that despite an eight-month effort to develop a local following, 11 people made the trip.
“It’s not the numbers that make you successful,” she said. “It’s the spirit.”
Elena Colquitt, president of the FAMU NAACP chapter, said the organization sponsored the discussion to incorporate activism with this year’s homecoming theme of unity.
“We need more awareness,” said Colquitt, a 21-year-old business administration student from Detroit. “Many students don’t have a cause.”
Sabrina Newton and Monique Underwood, sophomores from Orlando, said attending the Movement was a life-changing experience.
“I felt like a sponge trying to grab everything-knowledge, warmth, love, spirit,” said Newton, an 18-year-old political science student.
“I plan to mobilize the message around the world,” said Underwood, a 19-year-old pharmacy student.
Emil Muhammad said he is looking for dedicated people to create a network that will bring together student organizations.
“We’re the age of fulfillment,” he said. “We’re ushering in a new world order.”
Contact Andrea H. Young at firstname.lastname@example.org