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Harlem Honors Malcolm X In the Streets!

By Amadi Ajamu
The 34th annual May 19th Malcolm X Birthday Black Power rally and march gathered in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on 125th Street at high noon to rally before the “Shut ‘Em Down March to close businesses on 125th Street, in a ‘Commercial Moment of Silence’. in honor and respect for Malcolm X on his 99th Birthday. Under the organizational leadership of the December 12th Movement, over 95% of the stores were informed and shuttered at the appointed 1 PM start time and remained closed until 4 PM.

A broad coalition participated in this annual gathering of organizations and communities who have faithfully and consistently demonstrated their love and respect for Malcolm X on the streets of Harlem, where he taught and fought for the Black nation, including Palestinian Solidarity veteran and student organizations, Life Camp, Man Up! and Stop The Killing anti-violence activists, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, For Our Liberation, Black Men Building, veteran Black Panther Party activists, Free Mumia Coalition, community activists, everyday concerned people of New York and many others who traveled from out of state to attend.

As the throng of marchers made their rounds up and down the 125th Street corridor, behind the Malcolm X banner, waving the Red, Black, and Green Pan African flag and, in a show of solidarity, the Palestinian flag, they encountered several stores that resisted the community demand for a ‘Commercial Moment of Silence’ and had to be firmly reminded. So, they stopped and paid them a visit, chanting, “Shut ‘Em Down! No Disrespect for Malcolm X!”

A small delegation then entered these businesses, including Banana Republic, Ashley Furniture, Wing Stop, H&M, and KFC, and had a thorough discussion on community relations. Subsequently, they understood their mistake, acquiesced, and pulled down their gates. KFC even had to give their customers their money back! “Black Power! Whose Streets? Our Streets!”


The few diehard businesses that remained adamantly opposed to honoring Malcolm X’s legacy and refused to close were CVS, DSW, Blink, Captain Louie’s, and the Deli on the corner of 125th St and 5th Ave. They will need follow-up attention.

At the closing rally, Omowale Clay, Chair of the December 12th Movement, stated, “Before October, it was a different world; after October, it’s a whole new world. Look at West Africa, from Burkina Faso to Niger, to Mali, to Chad; they are throwing off the yolk of French imperialism. If African countries changed their currencies tonight, France would collapse tomorrow. Just like reparations would break the back of U.S. imperialism.

But, we came to celebrate Malcolm. We told our comrades who were fighting for the liberation of Palestine that history didn’t start on October 7th. It’s always helpful when you can start history when you want it to.

We know when the history started with the Nakba. We understand what it means to be under the heels of fascism. Today people are talking about fascism because it has moved into the white community. Colonialism is fascism. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade was fascism. Lynchings in Alabama are fascism.

Police murders of ten-year-old kids are fascism. We also understand it can get worse because it will be Black people and people of color who will be the scapegoats of the decline of America. The ones that actually built America. They’re now getting ready to blame us for the fall of America.


Last year, our revolutionary hero, Viola Plummer, was right here. She taught us very well. She said, ‘Never give up.’ She said, ‘Finish the gig.’ So what was she saying to us? We learned a lot of lessons in Ferguson, MO. Little Ferguson outside St Louis, where they drove Black people out.

Where a local government was still controlled by white folks, Little Ferguson rebelled, and they cast a shadow across the whole world. Because they were determined to throw oppression off. Little Cuba sits there in the middle of the Caribbean. But it casts a massive shadow across the whole world.

Why? Because the people are united. They united to end imperialist rule on their land. But to do that, they needed a structure. All of us who consider ourselves revolutionaries must build a structure. We have got to fight for some ideological unity.

How do you think October 7th happened? All of their mechanization and technology, and their ‘superiority’ fell flat. Because there was a structure that has been fighting since the beginning of the Nakba in 1948.”
As we move toward Malcolm X’s centennial next year, Clay proposed beginning this structure by building a United Front Against Fascism.

For more information, contact the December 12th Movement at (718) 398-1766 or