The 15th Anniversary of the New Black Panther Party's (NBPP) Million Youth March rally in Harlem on September 7 featured public figures as well of its usual brand of racism and anti-Semitism.
In publicly available videos of the weekend’s events, NBPP National Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz used at least one anti-Semitic slur and singled out supposedly Jewish-owned stores for a boycott. In typical Shabazz fashion, he stated, “If I had it my way, we would blackout and boycott every bloodsucker on 125th Street and start with these so-called Jewish owned diamond stores.” He then went into a call-and-response with the audience where he called out repeatedly, “Shut ‘em down!”
Shabazz also spoke out against integration (saying he doesn’t want to see Black and white youth holding hands), stop-and-frisk, gentrification in Harlem, sexual abuse within the Black community, and the George Zimmerman verdict, engaging in another call-and-response with the audience, in which he asked what Zimmerman’s sentence should have been, and the audience responded over and over: “Death!”
In an unannounced appearance, NYC Comptroller and then mayoral candidate John Liu was welcomed to the NBPP’s stage where he did not object to being introduced as a “supporter of the Million Youth March.” Liu told the audience that it was “great” to see so many in attendance and that it “means a lot.”
While it is not clear if Liu was aware of the NBPP’s history of egregiously anti-Jewish rhetoric and calls for violence against white people, the LGBT community, law enforcement, and other groups, Liu concluded his stump speech with more praise for the movement. He said, “This Million Youth March is not just for today. It’s for everyday because every day we got to think about the changes that we need, and what each and every one of us individually can add to the movement that will one day, hopefully soon, bring about the change we need.”
During Liu’s remarks, he also mentioned that he was the only mayoral candidate to attend the NBPP’s August 26th “NY Mayoral Candidates Forum,” and that he was embarrassed, not for himself, but for the other candidates who did not show. In promotional materials, the NBPP claimed Liu, Anthony Weiner, Bill Thompson, and Bill De Blasio were all confirmed to attend, but apparently it was only Liu who attended.
NYC Councilman Charles Barron, who openly maintains close ties to the NBPP and other hate groups, also made an appearance at the Million Youth March. While he focused his remarks on U.S. intervention in Syria, he also employed harsh anti-Israel rhetoric, alleging, “Israel uses gas and chemical weapons on the Palestinians. You want to bomb somebody, bomb Israel.”
The Million Youth March had endorsements from other public figures. These included such notables as Mayor Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi, entertainer Nick Cannon, and St. Louis real estate and media mogul Michael V. Roberts, but it does not appear that any of them attended.
The Million Youth March, advertised simultaneously as the "National Black Family Convention,” a rally for Trayvon Martin (“Millions for Trayvon”), and a protest against U.S. intervention in Syria, appears to have been largely a bust. Promoted for months as a “massive rally” which the party claimed would include “at least 50,000” supporters marching through the streets of Harlem, the rally received almost no media attention and appears to have attracted only a few hundred supporters and onlookers.