After months of
behind-the-scenes wrangling over whether Nation of Islam
leader Louis Farrakhan's Millions More Movement rally in
Washington, D.C., this weekend would include gays and
lesbians, it was announced Thursday that black gay
activist Keith Boykin would speak at the event.
Boykin, president of the gay rights group National Black
Justice Coalition, is expected to speak on Saturday.
been accused of antigay rhetoric in the past, and at least
some march organizers have publicly denounced homosexuality
in recent months. But NBJC's Ray Daniels said
Farrakhan has "faced his shortcomings head on and has
made a concerted effort" to reach out to gays and
other minority groups.
At the National
Press Club on Thursday, Farrakhan said he wants the
National Mall event, which is marking the 10th anniversary
of the Million Man March, to be the start of a
long-range movement to empower minorities, not just a
one-day event. "We're tired of begging others to do
for us what we have the capacity to pool our
resources--intellectually and financially--to do
for ourselves," Farrakhan said. "We will make demands
from our government, but we know those demands will
fall on deaf ears unless and until we are mobilized,
sensitized, and extremely organized."
The Million Man
March in 1995 was criticized for excluding women; this
year's rally will include women. Much of the emphasis will
be on Hurricane Katrina and the many poor black
residents of New Orleans whose lives were shattered by