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Grand Basileus Tony Knox

The Honorable Man – Million Man March: Why is Omega Marching?

Giving honor to God,

I have been asked why we are participating in the Million Man March.

My brothers in Omega, we are marching because we are honorable men and honorable fathers. As Omegas we firmly believe that our families are not complete without a father or a father figure within the household. Therefore, I thank every organization that tries to assist in this important cause. Although I love and respect all single-parent mothers I still strongly believe that no one can teach a black boy how to become a black man except an honorable black Man. Accordingly, we will be represented in the 20,000 honorable fathers marching.

If the foregoing reason is not sufficient, then consider the cases involving: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland. Yes, black lives matter as all lives matter, but for some reason there are some who do not understand that ALL lives include black lives. Our country will never be all that it can be, until young black men are given a chance to live to their fullest potential and share their talents and skills with our country.

The scales of justice are sometimes unbalanced. For example, consider when Eric Garner was choked to death and no charges were filed. Consider the case of an unarmed Jonathan Ferrell who was shot at least 12 times but the officer who shot him was not convicted because the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict which resulted in a mistrial. Or consider the case of a typical celebrity who commits a felony and is sentenced to five years probation while a teacher administering an assessment test is sentenced to 20 years in prison. Yes, we are marching for those reasons too.

And let's not forget James Austin and Shaun Gregory were both killed by young men who look just like them. And there are many others who have suffered the same fate. It's time to stop disrespecting and devaluing our own lives. We are marching against that too.

While we should celebrate the positive impact of the 50 years since the enactment of the historic Voting Rights Act unfortunately, this is not the time to celebrate because we continue to face numerous deliberate voter suppression efforts in many states using old and new tactics to take away this precious right and yes, that too is why we are marching.

We have schools that have become segregated and are not properly funded. Classroom sizes have increased, assistant teachers are eliminated and low pay for teachers remains at the bottom of the pay scale.

Graduation rates have gone up significantly for everyone except black and brown males and we can't figure out why. Isn't this reason alone, a sufficient justification enough to march?

We have meetings in major cities and we see homeless children going to school, and we have little money for assistance and we count on the nonprofits and the churches to assist, but we look in the city budget at the miscellaneous lines, and we can't figure why it costs so much.

Countless dollars are paid to families where their civil rights have been violated by those that we entrust to protect us, but there is little or no money to help those in need. We are marching against that too.

As the economy improves and the unemployment rate continues to decline, we regret that the African-American unemployment rate is two times that of others. Social programs and nonprofits that keep children off the streets are closing and people wonder why the crime rate is going up. That is why we are marching.

When the mayor, and the attorney general take public positions that save lives they are called weak or accused of rushing to judgment. When our President makes it possible for millions who would be otherwise be without insurance to have insurance, and thereby makes life better for all people, he is unjustly criticized for caring for the disenfranchised amongst us. Yes, we are marching against those actions too.

As we prepare to go to Washington D.C. this march should include men of all nationalities including black, brown, and white. All honorable men should be concerned about the plight of our young men, about voter suppression, about unequal justice, about the inequality of our education system, about the denial of civil rights and human rights and about racism. While Omega has recognized that we are one, it is time for a reassessment of our role because we are all God's children.

When we assemble for many public programs, we sing the black national anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing and we also sing "We shall overcome, some day." Of course this prompts the question when will that precious someday arrive? If we want it to be sooner rather than later then we need to march during this 20th anniversary and let our participation become a rededication of our determination to make life better for our people, to create that change that will make it universal for all of the Divine Nine, NAACP, Urban League, 100 Black Men and all other organizations fighting for justice and equality to work together to make "We Shall Overcome," a reality and not just part of a civil rights anthem.

Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, I am asking all chapters and districts that participate in the march to be as one. I ask that we change our work clothes and dress in business attire and that we wear black or blue suits with white shirts and purple neckties. Likewise, wearing purple blazers with shirt and tie is also acceptable. Brothers I am asking that we demonstrate that we are there for business and that if the work is going to be in the street, the legislature, the council chambers, or the courts we will be there as we have from the very start.

My brothers it's time for us to stop having "a dream deferred," and for us to be a part of a world where the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man do co-exist. History is calling the men of Omega and it is time for us step-up and lead by example and be the proactive game-changers we have long been known for being.

I love you all,

Antonio F. Knox Sr.
40th Grand Basileus

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