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Local group at 20th anniversary of Million Man March

Brock A. Stein | 10/14/2015, 5:14 p.m.
When he marched in Washington DC this past weekend on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, Joliet resident ...

When he marched in Washington DC this past weekend on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, Joliet resident Marcus Bouldin said that he felt like he was part of history.

Bouldin said he felt compelled to take part in the ceremony that remembered the first march, which took place 20 years ago in Washington.

“I feel like everyone should have experienced it,” said Bouldin who works as a wine and spirits representative and is a life-long Joliet resident.

In the wake of events such as those in Ferguson, MO where police killed the unarmed Michael Brown or the death of Eric Garner in New York, also unarmed, at the hands of the police, Bouldin said that it was comforting “just to see everybody come together in unity and peace.”

The First march took place on October 16, 1995 and was organized by Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan. The Islam leader again organized the 20th anniversary that took place on Saturday, at the National Mall in Washington, DC. The goal was to unite black men for a day of atonement that “focused on a personal commitment to be responsible and active in improving the Black community,” according to the Nation of Islam website.

This year’s anniversary march, titled “Justice or Else” focused on equal rights according to the website for the rally calling for “equal justice under the law…applied equally regardless to creed or class or color.”

Bouldin said that he and the other members of his group, (The New Black Panther Party) , met at Howard University in Washington on Saturday for a pep rally and then served as escorts for the students who marched the 2 miles to the “Justice or Else” rally which was held at the National Mall.

“Seeing those young men and women so passionate about justice and peace and equality…that was the highlight for me,” said Bouldin.

For Bouldin, another highlight he experience was of the 82-year old Farrakhan’s 2-hour speech was when he talked about how “women should respect their bodies.”

“That part of the speech touched home with me,” said Bouldin, father to two daughters ages 4 and 14.

He said he also took away from Mr. Farrakhan’s speech the message that the rally was not so much a moment but “more of a movement” and as such a call to “do things that are constructive.”

He said he was making a photo collage of his experience at the rally for them and to share with others.

“It’s an experience that will live on in my memory,” he said.