This past weekend was the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. Tons of black celebrities, political pundits, talk show hosts, and more attended the landmark event that drew thousands upon thousands of black men, women, and children to the nation’s capital in order to celebrate not only a significant moment in African-American history, but a current cultural movement within our country as well. 

But I only heard about the Million Man March 2015,this monumental once in a lifetime event, Saturday morning/afternoon. The day of the event. NOT the weeks leading up to it. 

At first, I was slightly ashamed of not hearing one peep about the event taking place. The questions swirling in my head were “Why wasn’t this retweeted, reblogged and shared on various social media platforms? Why am I just finding out about this? Where were the news reports leading up to it?” But after beating myself up for a few minutes and mulling over my lack of knowledge of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, I realized… how could I search for something I had no clue existed in the first place?

So after coming to that conclusion, I looked to some news on the matter discussing who was all there and the theme/hashtag #JusticeOrElse. A good friend of mine had the luxury of attending the event, as well as several celebrities I follow who shared their pictures, Facebook statuses, and tweets from the event. The pictures flooding my FB timeline were pretty epic in scope; the crowd was massive and it looked like there was and endless sea of attendees, possibly rivaling any gathering in recent U.S. history. 

Meanwhile, there were other posts flooding my timeline simultaneously that didn’t talk about who was at the event or what was being said as much as who wasn’t in attendance. 

  
Several memes and statuses were bemoaning the lack of media coverage in D.C. for the Million Man March anniversary.  Some of these reports were of the “SMDH/should have known” variety and some others were blatantly pissed off and outraged about the absence of the media during a peaceful and noteworthy event. The same angry parties also declared that if there was violence on hand then the cameras surely would have been front and center, ala Baltimore and Ferguson, to get every bottle thrown and any negative image they could possibly collect. 

This blog post is dedicated to those who decided it was more important to repost and reshare the lack of media coverage than the actual events, speeches, and message of the Million Man March, and why they totally missed the point – and opportunity – to actually do something for a change. This blog post is also dedicated to those who didn’t bother to stop to fact check before making these memes, nor come to the conclusion that it doesn’t take an army of news trucks to represent a journalistic presence at an event this size.

Now in no shape, way, or form am I taking up for the media as a whole, because they have dropped the ball on numerous occasions on race relations and other subjects outside of that hotbed topic. But a quick Google search would show that numerous news entities ranging from CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc were on hand to cover the event as it played out. You would think that if one was bothered enough to send out memes about the injustice of the media screwing us black folks again would at least have the time to pull viable receipts to back their claims. No one bothered to do this despite people leaving examples of coverage in the comments section of the memes and blog posts. 

Then another thought came to mind about people maybe wanting to actually see the events transpire instead of reading about them on the net. Maybe they wanted their kids to see the power of unity from the black community and have them be a part of a national movement through their TV screens, not a sea of articles. I understood this new kernel of knowledge wholeheartedly, but it only produced a new seed of questions and observations, namely one that brings me back to my initial qualm about the coverage of the Million Man March: Why did I, and tons of others, not hear about it until Saturday, the day of the event?

  
This is where my ire sets in. And this is where not only the media dropped the ball, but the social media justice warriors as well. 

While trying to make sure people “stayed woke,” the social media activists slept hard on a huge opportunity and they have only themselves to blame mostly.

Something this huge should not have snuck up on us. It should have came roaring; loud enough that it would be have been on everyone’s lips according to the sites who are declaring a complete media shutout of the event.

JusticeOrElse.com was the official website for the MMM 20th and they have a Facebook page, Twitter handle, and an app that promoted this function. By the looks of things they promoted this pretty damn well (as far as April of this year according to their Facebook page). But still it didn’t (and wouldn’t) reach all ears and eyeballs. This is where those blogs and others whom were anxious that the event wouldn’t be covered properly should have reached out to the handlers of JusticeOrElse about a joint venture to have the landmark affair covered properly. If they couldn’t have reached them, then get in contact with someone who was going to be in attendance, had audio/visual knowledge, and could set up a live stream of the event for their organization or website. The event drew people from across the United States so someone knew someone who knew something that could have been of value to the sites/blog. 

Also you didn’t need to have complete videography knowledge. Live blogging or live tweeting the occasion could have been a big help. I’m sure someone did just that Saturday and probably could have uploaded a Storify link with video to boot.

  
The point is that while the MMM 20th promotional train did its thing, it was up to those with the platforms who received the JusticeOrElse’s call to take the baton and continue the race and make sure news of the event reached the eyeballs of as many African-Americans as possible. Creating memes, blog posts, and articles damning the media for not showing up cameras blazing for the peaceful MMM 20th, instead of using that time and energy to actually report on the speeches and events as they unfolded, did not add anything new to the conversation. It only fed on the ignorance of those not in the know and continued to spread the virus known as misinformation during what is supposed to be the Age of Information. We know the media (all forms, biases, and what have you of it) have no clue of our plight and need papers to sell and page clicks to cash in on. 

A great opportunity was lost this weekend, and in that lies a great disservice that is growing monstrously each day. In short, we have to do better people.

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