CNN LIVE SATURDAY
Million Youth March Gets Under Way in Brooklyn
Aired September 6, 2003 - 18:49 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KELLI ARENA, CNN ANCHOR: In Brooklyn today this year's Million Youth March, once a flashpoint for controversy stepped off the curb in an almost tranquil fashion with just a splash of hip-hop music.
Our Kris Osborn says even though the crowd was small the message was not.
KRIS OSBORN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hip-hop music echoed through the streets of Brooklyn. Passionate rhetoric filled the air. But at this year's Million Youth March in New York City only a few hundred people showed up to hear it.
The march was billed as a massive event, complete with key national figures, like Democratic candidate Al Sharpton, entrepreneur Russell Simmons and famous rap artists like Nas and (unintelligible) but come march time none of them showed up.
Undeterred by the small crowd, Malik Zulu Shabazz leader of the controversial New Black Panther movement and key organizer of the event said the march was designed to send positive messages to the Black community like stopping black-on-black violence.
MALIK ZULU SHABAZZ, NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY: As much as we'll talk about police brutality we'll get right back at it. We're killing each other at a record rate.
OSBORN: Other remarks, though, were less peaceful.
SHABAZZ: We got to stop being scared to call the (unintelligible).
OSBORN (on camera): So, why the poor turnout? March organizers say it doesn't matter. It's due in part to weak promotions. Others here say it relates to divisions within the Black community and this particular group's history of making controversial statements.
MANNING MARABLE, PROF., COLUMBIA UNIV.: The New Black Panther Party is really a cult utilizing or manipulating the name of the Black Panther Party and their political credibility for their own sectarian purposes.
OSBORN (voice-over): Reaction among marchers who did show up was mixed. Some, like 15-year-old Jonathan Thompson didn't like the anti- White language. JONATHAN THOMPSON: They care more about the Black race or the White race, it's really segregation so there's not really that much I care about it.
OSBORN: And others, like local resident Virgous Lungsford chose to focus on the positive.
VIRGOUS LUNGSFORD, MILLION YOUTH MARCH ATTENDEE: That's what really the teachings are for, you know, a lot of positive teaching so you won't think that your life is based on what you see right here and there's more to that, you know.
OSBORN: This year's march was a contrast to the first one in 1998, which saw protesters and police clash. This year's event ended peacefully.
Kris Osborn, CNN, New York.
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