The Or Else

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”

Frederick Douglass

By Oster Bryan

On 10/10/2015, there was a great Black migration to Washington D.C. for an event called “Justice or Else”, which embodied the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The event was spearheaded by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Events such as these are rare in Black life. Where other communities celebrate their oneness on a regular basis, celebrations such as these have eluded regular Black life over the past half century in America. The event had the express intent to demand justice for past and current abuses and neglect by the government of the United States. Other groups have been made whole after their abuse, so in order for every group’s humanity to be realized every group must be made whole.

In 1942, the Executive Order 9066 required the deportation of Japanese Americans to internment camp until 1946. The order was enacted due to the paranoia of World War II era America. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provided $20,000 for each surviving detainee. Not that a price tag can be placed on suffering, The Japanese-American community fought to address the wrongs done to the previous generation of Japanese Americans.

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From 1941 to 1945, the Jewish genocide widely known as “The Holocaust” occurred. Jewish people were systematically exterminated over this four year period. By 1951, a deal was reached with Germany for the amount of $845 million to be paid to Israel for the rehabilitation of 500,000 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. In 1988, Germany allocated another $125 million. In 2012, Germany paid another 772 million euros in reparations to Israel . In 2014, A French state-owned railway company paid $60 million to American Jewish Holocaust survivors. The Jewish community has gone through great lengths to ensure the wrongs of the past be addressed.

The enslavement of Africans in the Western Hemisphere began in the early 1500’s. In contrast to other systems of slavery, slaves in America were systematically kept in ignorance (it was illegal for slaves to learn to read), were denied humanity (slaves were legally 3/5ths of a human) and were stripped of their names, religion, language and culture. Although slavery officially came to an end in 1865 in America, second-class citizenship continues to present day. No wrongs have been meaningfully addressed.

If all humanity is not respected, then no humanity is respected. The Justice Or Else movement allows victims of abuse to request that they be made whole. In doing so, they position themselves to demand justice from those who wish to strip them of what they deserve… and they will get what they deserve “Or Else”.

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