These portraits were taken on October 10, 2015 at the 20 th Anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington D.C. The subjects are all individuals who attended the Million Man March in 2015, as well as the first Million Man March in 1995.
The individuals represent a wealth of history and knowledge over that span of time. Additionally, there will be those in 20 years who don’t have a personal memory of the 2015 march, much less the 1995 march. In light of that, I asked these subjects what they would want the future generations to know about this current movement.
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “We are to the point where we need to get some action done. We are tired of coming together marching and demanding the same thing. But what I would tell them is that they need to find out, so that we won’t have to repeat history like we are doing. We are repeating history. Twenty years from now, if someone is born and is not aware of this here, they shouldn’t have to have another event like this here. It is incumbent on us to do something so that they don’t have to do this.” – Takoma
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “I guarantee you that when you look at the news about this, they will find all the negative aspects of it. That’s why it is important you are here to show the real story of what is happening.” – Jabar, Rob, Bashir
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “The next generation are the ones that are 13, 14, 15. You are the one that has to put something in their heads. It is your responsibility. If you don’t, the same shit will happen. We will be back here in 20 years asking for the same shit.” – Hannibal
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “When we came in ‘95 it was to bring the men together so they can gain back control of their families and homes. Now we are here again, 20 years later, and it is because they are killing those very same men that we are trying to encourage to go back home and take care of their families and take charge. It is obvious that they are out to annihilate the black man. The black man has the key to all life. They recognize that, even when we don’t recognize that. Therefore, when they saw the numbers in ‘95, it scared them. When they hear us keep coming back and keep coming back it scares them. They have to pay for what they have done to our people. And they know that, so they are trying to annihilate all of us so that they do not have answer for what they have done. What they do not understand is that we have a direct connection with Allah and Allah is going to bring the wrath upon them. It may not be this year, it may not be 100 years from now, it may not be, but it’s coming. And it is obvious from how everything is going on in the world today. The time is coming in.” – Aysha
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “In ‘95 it was us coming together, atonement. And what Minister Farrakhan was saying was more based in economics. Let’s come together, let’s put our money together. And now, it’s more or less fed up. You are killing our kids, you are killing our people, and nothing is being done about it. So what I want them to take from it is that black people can come together and assemble, peacefully. In ‘95, I was a senior in high school. And one thing I used to tell everyone about the march, coming from an inner-city high school, was that anytime there was a lot of us, you expected something to happen. And when I got here in ‘95, and I just saw all of these black people just cool, waving at me, it was like euphoric almost. It was a great feeling. So I want to give them that, that black people can come together. Don’t listen to the status quo. I’m living proof, you can do it twice. To me I think there was more people the first time, it was way more than a million. The media said it was 700k. No, that wasn’t true, it was over a million. And we can come together as a people. Because that is the main thing, we don’t have unity. But we can come together for the event, and if we can take that and channel it into some type of unity to come together, that would be great. So I think step one is that we can come together. You call for us and we came. The next step is the next one. So if it is another 20th anniversary, I’ll be there too. I will.” – Yohance
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “I just want them to know we gotta stop meeting like this. We are here for a reason and we are revisiting what we did 20 years ago. Certainly we have made some progress, but we’ve digressed as well. You know we need some young leaders. If you look at Farrakhan , he is 83 years old. I’m 61 years old. We need some young 22-year-olds with that same passion that same fire about justice. Not for some people but for all people. That’s what this is about to me. I have my grandchildren here, my daughter. I want to see justice for all people. Not just a few, not just the elite. I’d like to see healthcare for everybody, even if I had to pay a little more. I would love to see us not repeat the same thing, not just here for the same reasons.” – Shawul
Photo by Laurent Chevalier. “We need to come out of this damn mess we are into right now. And I hope today we get some instructions on how we finally once and for all get out of this. We did this 20 years ago; we are right back again talking about the same thing. Except for we came for atonement and reconciliation, but we were still addressing the same issues.” – Robert, Muhammad
Laurent Chevalier is a Brooklyn-based photographer observing and exploring human moments in life. Washington-state born and Brooklyn stamped, Laurent Chevalier’s eye is always searching for the natural beauty surrounding him. A proponent of shooting film, Chevalier strives to create an honest perspective on a space in time through street photography and portraiture. He also firmly believes in the Supersonics’ return to Seattle, and that the two-step is relevant to all of life’s best moments. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter and check out his website here.
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