Originally created 09/27/98

Black youths gather, carry on unity goal

They came to remember not to forget.

About 100 black youths gathered in May Park on Saturday at a follow-up event to the Million Youth Movement. That event, held during Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, was organized by several black leaders to promote unity among the nation's black youth.

Saturday's follow-up aimed to ensure that the movement's lessons were not lost after the Labor Day weekend, said Alexander Smith, chairman of the event's organizing committee.

"We were given the marching orders from the Million Youth Movement in Atlanta," Mr. Smith said. "The agenda that came out of the Million Youth Movement was to continue that process in our communities. That's why we are here today.

"The platform is to empower our youth, first and foremost spiritually, politically, socially, economically and academically. This is to empower our youth to take control of their destiny."

The event featured several speakers, including overtures from mayoral candidates Ed McIntyre, Elmer Singley and Bob Young; Venus Cain, a candidate for the District 9 at-large seat on the Richmond County Board of Education; and Denise Freeman, a candidate for the 10th Congressional District.

Some speakers urged the audience to continue the work of the Million Youth Movement.

"We have an unfinished agenda," said Terence Dicks, assistant director of "Think Big '98," a program designed by Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. to reduce adolescent violence and drug abuse.

"We have not finished business," Mr. Dicks told the crowd. "We have got to keep going. I ask all of you who are active right now to remember us on Oct. 16, the anniversary of the Million Man March."

The spirit of that march was what brought Ken Faison to Saturday's event, he said.

"I basically came out here because I saw the signs, and I really wanted to see what was going on," said Mr. Faison, an Augusta resident. "I was curious.

"I wanted to see if this would have the same spirit as the Million Man March or the Million Woman March."

Mr. Faison said he was most impressed by presentations from members of the Nation of Islam.

"That one seemed to put a spirit in it," Mr. Faison said. "That was what I was looking for."

Mr. Smith said he was pleased with the event.

"Overall, it was a success," he said. "We were able to amass more than 100 people in the beginning. This is the beginning of a continuing process that's evolving here in Augusta."


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