Farrakhan Urges Black Men to Stop Violence
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan told an audience of black men Monday night that they should become ″agents of salvation″ for their race before anyone will be able to stop the violence that claims so many young black lives.
″We have been programmed, brothers, for self-destruction,″ Farrakhan told the crowd at the District of Columbia Armory. ″We want to deprogram you from self destruction and reprogram you as agents of salvation of black men. It won’t be hard to do.″
Farrakhan spoke before a male-only audience as part of the Nation of Islam’s ″Stop the Killing″ campaign. Similar speeches, also before all-male audiences, have been delivered in other cities.
Farrakhan told the men that women were excluded because violence is a more pressing issue among black men.
″The morgues of America are not filled with black women. The morgues of America are filled with black men, killed oftentimes by black men,″ he said.
″We went up and the guy at the curb said ‘no’, ″ said Dannia Rogers, 19, as she stood outside the Armory. ″He said ‘Sister, this is for the brothers and the sisters can’t go in.’ ... I was offended, but I guess that’s what they feel is necessary.″
Rogers and Sheila Blasingame, 22, said they did not know the speech was for men only.
″He should have a for women only meeting too,″ Blasingame said. ″We have things we need to talk about, too.″
Farrakhan urged the enthusiastic crowd to abstain from revenge killings and shootings in the heat of disagreement or emotion.
″Are we brothers?″ Farrakhan asked. ″If we are brothers, why should I carry a gun to shoot my brother? Just say ‘Peace,’ and mean it.″
Farrakhan told the crowd that it was important to have an education and be aware of world events, stressing the need high self-esteem and building an economic base within black communities.
Because the D.C. Armory is a city-owned building, it violates D.C. law to bar women. But D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly said earlier that the Armory is ″something that’s not under my control.″
The D.C. Armory board, an independent agency, controls the armory complex.