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Million Man March sent strong messagesNever before...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Million Man March sent strong messages

Never before in the history of America have we witnessed so large a number of African-American males gathered together in a single, positive arena and covered by the national communications media.

We typically see in the media the depiction of African-American males engaged only in negative activity. They are shown hand-cuffed, behind prison bars or dead as sheet-covered or chalk-outlined forms on the ground.

However, history was made on Oct 16. Not only were marchers depicted in a positive, non-violent forum, they were united from all geographic areas of the country, and from eclectic socio-economic backgrounds.

Despite the personal, political and social views of the principal organizers of the event, a much more important message was portrayed. It was a message of unity, ethnic pride and a positive re-commitment to the crusade of African-American issues. Kudos.

Betty B. Cotton

Baltimore

If Louis Farrakhan calls Jews and certain other groups "blood suckers," I wonder what he calls his Million Man March co-organizer, Benjamin Chavis, who misused the funds of his own people.

Jerry Caldwell Jr.

Baltimore

Many have tried to focus on the implied approval of all of Louis Farrakhan's policies by the participants in the Million Man March. They are unable to separate the message from the messenger. Yet the vast majority of the participants likely do not embrace all of Mr. Farrakhan's politics. They do jointly embrace at least one ,, ideal -- the important message that black men need to awaken themselves and the nation to their plight, but then to do something constructive about it.

Black men who chose to attend do not automatically embrace every prejudice and hatred of Mr. Farrakhan. Most were able to support this particular important event because the message is so critical. Were the rest of us to only vote for a political candidates because we agreed with every single bit of rhetoric ever uttered by the candidate of their party, our democratic process would collapse due to lack of participation.

Alvan Beal III

Columbia

It's been so long since African Americans have felt a sense of unity. We are locked in a time where the plight of black men has had such a detrimental effect on them in the society that they believe there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. Drug addiction, incarceration, drug selling, genocide, etc. Not to mention the fact that they feel that they are treated as second-class citizens because of the color of their skin.

African Americans are grasping at straws when it comes to coping with today's society. They are faced with many adversities and feel that their voice is not one that is heard. If this march served for nothing else, it served as a voice for African Americans.

Don't look at it as Louis Farrakhan's march. Look at it as a million men wanting to strengthen their spirit and having and an urgency to be heard.

Karen Evette Miller

Baltimore

Forget the politics, the religious and the divisionist rhetoric. The impact of the Million Man March will not be on groups of people, but on individuals. Perhaps the most important message sent from the podium came after all the speeches were over. A simple announcement was made: a list of individuals who had become separated from their groups and where to reunite with them.

F. C. Ottenheimer

Baltimore

Just a short time ago, a man rose up from the masses to lead his "nation." He organized rallies and led marches. He preached strength, self confidence, self reliance and pride. Mixed in with the messages were hate-filled words directed toward others. At first, followers ignored the hate. They felt good about themselves -- empowered and proud. But soon they began to believe in the whole message and hate filled the "nation." As a result, millions were slaughtered. People who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

M. Langbaum

Baltimore

I was very disappointed to hear that Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke participated in the Million Man March, which was organized by the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. I wonder how Mr. Schmoke would feel if Gov. Parris N. Glendening were to participate in a march organized by a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Carol Stone

Owings Mills

Your reporting on the Million Man March was inaccurate and misleading. You put the National Parks Service police estimate of 400,000 people in your headline. There may have been 400,000 listening to speeches in front of the Capitol at any one time, but that ignores the fact that there were arrivals and departures all day long.

Large numbers of people arrived before sunrise and were exhausted by the afternoon. Hundreds of thousands others arrived at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and even 2 p.m. While the speeches were going on, a six-block area of vending stalls was packed by buyers. Another six-block transit area north to south leading to the main rally was also quite well populated. The Committee to Free Shaik Omar Abdel Rahman had an entire team in the march and our conservative estimate was nearer 2 million than 1 million.

Kaukab Siddique

Baltimore

I attended the Million Man March and -- except for my wedding and birth of my children -- it was the most beautiful and moving event I have ever attended.

I work in Washington for the federal government, but my office is located in a private building. When I returned to work on Tuesday, I was talking to several of my co-workers, and they informed me that an armed security guard had been placed at the entrance of our building during the march.

I have been working in this building for five years. When the U.S. was involved in Operation Desert Storm and there were reports of threatened terrorism by Saddam Hussein, that didn't warrant a security guard (let alone an armed security guard). The bombing in New York City didn't warrant a security guard. The bombing in Oklahoma City didn't warrant a security guard.

Why are there factions out there that feel when a group of African-Americans get together they have to be up to no good? I know I didn't feel like rioting and looting. And looking back on the day, nobody else there felt that way either.

James Carroll

Owings Mills

In response to the Oct. 17 editorial, "Farrakhan's mixed message," I want to say that as a 24-year old black woman the message was very clear to me. To articulate that Minister Louis Farrakhan devoted too much of his speech to blaming the misery that afflicts so many blacks on white Americans of the past and present shows a total lack of understanding for the plight of black Americans.

For those who do not comprehend, slavery, oppression, and persecution in any form is not easily forgotten. It is this very ignorance that impedes any progress that is made in race relations. The white community must first understand racism and the emotions that it arouses. There is an expression that says, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat history." Is this not the case in America?

@Monique Burrell-Smith

Randallstown

Now that Louis Farrakahn has orchestrated his "Million Man March" on Washington.

Now that national attention has been focused on what has been a very peaceful and positive demonstration of the awakening of black manhood.

What comes next?

If this event is translated into a real improvement in the attitudes and actions of even a small percentage of black males, then Mr. Farrakahn is truly a great leader. If life among inner-city black males remains "business as usual" -- with no reduction in fatherless children, drugs, and crime -- then Mr. Farrakahn becomes an irrelevant player in history.

This is the real challenge for Mr. Farrakahn and all the participants in this Million Man March. Produce some positive results.

Iver Mindel

Cockeysville

Public schools are wasteful bureaucracy

Mike Bowler's Oct. 8 article on Catholic schools shows us once again how much bureaucracy plagues the public schools.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore serves 34,000 students in 101 schools with 7 central administrators. The Harford County public schools serve 36,000 students in 51 schools with 64 central administrators.

One can find the same comparisons across the country. The schools of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago serve 40 percent as many students as the Chicago public schools but make do with 1 percent as many central office administrators.

In New York City there are 6,000 administrators in the government schools and only 25 in the Catholic schools, although the Catholic schools serve about one-fourth as many students.

Smaller school systems are not exempt from this problem. In California, for example, the Catholic schools in Oakland serve 22,000 students with two central administrators, while the nearby Richmond public school system needs 24 administrators for 30,000 students.

The question is: Why do we continue to spend so much money on inefficient bureaucratic school systems that don't teach children as well as private and parochial schools?

Instead of spending $5,400 per student in Harford County -- and more than that in Baltimore -- we could give very parent in Maryland a state or county scholarship worth $3,000 in a private or parochial school.

The taxpayers would save millions, and thousands of children would be able to attend better schools than the government

schools to which they are assigned.

David D. Boaz

Washington

MA The writer is executive vice president of the Cato Institute.

Pious rhetoric about U.S. helping Cuba

Once again, The Sun emphasizes old negatives in its interpretation of Fidel Castro's application to visit the United Nations this month. (Editorial: "Valedictory for Castroism?" Oct. 11.)

If Castro's political ideology and socialist policies mean he is a "figure of failure" who is "isolated in the hemisphere," and the opening of casinos a sign of bankruptcy, then the American people need to also be told in newspaper editorials that only Israel supports U.S. policy toward Cuba in the U.N., the 33-year-old U.S. trade embargo is a failure, supported by none of our allies, and here in Maryland, and elsewhere, we seek out gambling casinos to save our market economy.

The trade embargo against Cuba has cost the U.S. dearly in trade and jobs; let's not confuse the reader with pious rhetoric about how the U.S. needs to "help prepare Cuba for a transition that will be less traumatic at home and less costly to the U.S." citizens of Cuba and the U.S. have paid enough to perpetuate a policy driven by anachronistic hatreds and well-financed political action committees.

David Dent

Towson

Trucks and buses pollute the air

I've just had my car emission checked, paid my $8.50 willingly because I want to breathe clean air, and ventured out of the testing station with a very good feeling.

What hit me when I continued to drive around on some errands was the black, filthy smoke coming out of buses and trucks that our their poison through their stacks.

Where is the logic? Shouldn't buses and trucks be made to have some kind of filters to contain their dirty exhausts, or is their lobby too strong?

Jack Fives

Timonium

GOP vote effort seen as news

"Republicans remind Baltimore there still is a general election," says an Oct. 12 headline on a story accompanied by a photo that seems to have been taken through the wrong end of a telescope.

It is the job of The Sun to remind Baltimore that the coming election includes Republicans whose "Agenda for a Better Baltimore" should be required reading for all voters.

That Republicans are running at all -- and with highly credible candidates -- in a city dominated by Democrats for more than 50 years is news. To minimize the photograph and the message in this fashion is tantamount to contempt and scorn.

Elizabeth Ward Nottrodt

Baltimore

A boost to home birth movement

On Sept. 29 the article "Maternity law delivers shock" aroused mixed feelings for me. it was dismaying that a law was written in such a way that it was not understood by those it affects.

It also aroused a feeling of wanting to encourage the mothers-to-be to take charge of their births and rejoice at the limited hospital stay. Of course such maternal strength would be born of detailed instruction and support prior to the birth event to prepare the mother to look forward to going home and spending quality time with her infant without the interruptions, distractions and potential for harm of a hospital internment. This would be the ideal for both mother and newborn, if a support system is in place for pre- and post-partum care, advise and support.

This may even be a time for the home birth movement to gain momentum. Why should a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy enter the sick care system of the hospital?

Teresa A. Caruthers

Baltimore

AMA sells out patients for wealth

It is unfortunate that the American Medical Association could be bought for 30 pieces of silver or, in this case, $22 billion in reimbursements from an agreement with Newt Gingrich and congressional leaders. Once again, they have shown no concern for the 37 million Medicare beneficiaries -- we who, in most cases, have worked long and hard all of our lives and earned these benefits. Many of us are struggling now, even before the new cuts are made.

It also proves that Newt Gingrich and Republican leaders would take a deal with devil himself in order to get their Medicare cuts approved.

I hope that most Americans will see this endorsement by the AMA for what it really is ---- money out of the pockets of the needy and into the pockets of the greedy.

John W. Funk

Baltimore

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