In commemoration of the 1998 Million Youth March, which ended in violence 15 years ago, an anniversary rally gathered outside the Adam Clayton Powell state office building on Saturday to focus on the empowerment and education of young people. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Fifteen years after the chaotic clash that ended the 1998 Million Youth March, which left 30 officer and participants injured, Saturday's anniversary rally was a much different scene.
Instead, there was a peaceful gathering and march following in Harlem.
"We come in here in peace, to learn, to understand and to move forward," said Event Co-Coordinator Sutek Ameanra.
The anniversary rally started in the afternoon with a small crowd, swelling as people walking by stopped at the event, drawn by the powerful voices of young men and women talking about change.
"I didn't know about it at all, like I just came here, and I was like, 'Oh snap.' It looked really exciting, and I got something to eat, and I came in here, and I was just listening," said one rally attendee.
"These kids are like 17, 18 years old and they're on fire. It's such an awesome thing. These young kids have a passion. They're not going to be pushed back. They're not going to take less than we took," said another rally attendee.
But for some, like Rasheem Allah, who was at the first march, the real purpose of this event and the one it celebrated were lost on many, and he was disappointed.
"It's a low turn out, I mean not too many youth are out there, because they're not really going after the youth for the issues and the important things that address the youth. The graduation from college, and when you look at the regents in the school and the percentages for kids graduating, it's not great," Allah said.
Though much smaller in scale than the first Million Youth March, organizers say the goal of the anniversary rally is to improve youth economically, through education and by focusing on self pride.