Activists commemorate Million Man March 25 years later in NYC amid year of unrest

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A march was held across the Brooklyn Bridge on Friday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Million Man March.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Man Up! Inc. Executive Director A.T. Mitchell led the march across the bridge to Foley Square to highlight the ways men of color are getting involved in their communities.

The march comes amid a challenging year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact communities of color while the nation grapples with a legacy of racial injustice and high-profile police killings.

"When we start educating our children on history before slavery, we'll take our communities back," said marcher Vincent Riggins.

Despite the pouring rain, the weather did not dampen the spirit of the event.

"The men of this great city that live in those neighborhoods that are really doing a lot are just very sick and tired of being sick and tired and as serious as anyone could ever imagine, you can't get more serious then these groups of men from all walks of life and all religions and all backgrounds that came out to celebrate the 25th anniversary," an event organizer said.

For activist and organizer A.T. Mitchell, the march across the Brooklyn Bridge was more than just steps -- it's a movement that spans generations.

"We actually can change the trajectory of the things that are going on in our communities," Mitchell said.

The Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C. in 1995.

"The Million Man March was the day of atonement, Black men coming together saying they're going to get more actively involved in their community, that work hasn't stopped," said Dr. Shango Blake, organizer of the Million Man March. "As one of the main organizers in 1995, we're so proud that this brother is making this call today."

Organizers of Friday's march said they hope it marks a pivotal shift in what's happening in the community and they can reclaim the narrative.

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