NEW YORK, NY, - The nation's poor and disenfranchised will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 15th to help launch a movement long overdue. The Millions More Movement will focus on mobilizing men, women and youth into an effective national movement with the goal of transforming American society and eliminating poverty and injustice. As was starkly evidenced in the revelations following Hurricane Katrina, our nation's poor are being grossly underserved. As we witnessed, New Orleans' 9th Ward was the invisible ward but a 9th Ward exists in every city in America. From South Central in Los Angeles to Houston's 2nd Ward to North Philadelphia to Southeast Washington D.C. to Miami's Overtown, all of them and more contain people who are drowning in poverty. The power and resources to alleviate the horror of this condition is among us. The Millions More Movement will focus on empowering poor people to help themselves, beginning with the knowledge that in numbers comes strength and a common purpose to effect change. It takes place on the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March, which peacefully mobilized two million Black men in order to help them be better fathers, husbands and sons.
The Millions More Movement is being orchestrated by a broad coalition of national organizations including Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, Dr. Dorothy Height and the National Council of Negro Women, Bruce Gordon and the NAACP, Mark Morial and the National Urban League, Russell Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Dr. Charles Steele and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Jesse Jackson and the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network and Congressman Mel Watt and the Congressional Black Caucus, among others. The National Director of the Millions More Movement is Washington, D.C. pastor the Reverend Willie Wilson.
"The Millions More Movement is challenging all of us to rise above the things that have kept us divided in the past, by focusing us on the agenda of the Millions More Movement to see how all of us, with all of our varied differences, can come together and direct our energy, not at each other, but at the condition of the reality of the suffering of our people, that we might use all of our skills, gifts and talents to create a better world for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren," declared Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Added Dr. Dorothy Height, "The Million Man March ten years ago could not have been successful without the support of women. And we are pleased that women are invited to take part in the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March to launch the Millions More Movement, which encompasses the whole of black families and poor families throughout America."
Hip-hop leaders helping to galvanize the movement include Reverend Run, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Damon Dash, Jermaine Dupri, Kanye West, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Common, Wyclef Jean, Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown, David Banner, Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and Jha Jha of the Diplomats, Masta P, Juvenile, Erykah Badu ?Questlove of The Roots, MC Lyte, Fab Five Freddy, Biz Markie, Kid Capri, Cassidy, the Wu Tang Clan, Xzibit, Tony Austin, Humpty Hump, the Ruff Ryders and dead prez, among others.
Russell Simmons, Chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, emphasized, "The commemoration deserves the respect and support of all people of goodwill who cherish the universal love of humanity. The time has come for the hip-hop community and all of us to come together and participate in a movement which will have a fundamental influence on the lives of this generation and generations to come."
Other celebrities endorsing or participating include Harry Belafonte, Cornell West, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Susan Taylor, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Steve Harvey, Tavis Smiley, Tom Joyner, Cathy Hughes and many others.
Kanye West, speaking as he accepted the Million Man March Image Award at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, expressed his support for the Millions More Movement. West stated, "When your message resonates with the people, then you know your message is from God, and we are building this movement in the interest of all of God's people."
Common explains, "I always looked at hip-hop as a vehicle to educate, to enlighten, to inspire. If we make money at this music game, we can contribute to our communities, create jobs in our communities and really help make a difference. Participating on October 15 will draw much needed attention to these issues."
"I was given a tremendous gift and a platform, and it is my responsibility to use my platform to do the work of the Most High." Erykah Badu shared at the Millions More Movement Press Conference last May, where she declared her support.
David Banner emphasized, "I saved for six months to attend the first March and felt I was a part of history being made. The Millions More Movement will make history, too and highlight the responsibility of our people. If this is going to be a real movement, it has to be something the plumber does, the trash man does, the rappers do and the school teachers do. It has to be a grassroots, combined effort."
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, explained, "We will start the Millions More Movement program with the first National Memorial Service for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and their families. This will be the first opportunity for survivors of the hurricane along with elected officials from the affected states, to gather together to commemorate those whose lives were changed by this national tragedy. But most important, we are determined not to allow the lives of those lost to have been lost in vain."
The National Memorial Service will be followed by the Millions More Movement program.
LL Cool J emphasized the importance of being there. "I'm encouraging every single person to take part in this Movement. It's going to be a very positive and important event for every person, every family to experience."
Minister Farrakhan concluded, "Unity, love of self and love for one another have always been my desire. We stand on the threshold of the realization of our potential unity and the potential power that our unity can unleash to bring about a positive change today because of the Millions More Movement."