The first event back in 1998 had a violent conclusion, but organizers of the Million Youth March say they're hoping for thousands of young people gathering in Harlem for a positive cause this year. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
For those who were there 15 years ago, it was a chaotic scene. Police and participants at the Million Youth March in Harlem clashed on Malcolm X Boulevard.
Khallid Muhammad was the organizer of the event.
"In self defense, if they attack you, take their goddamn guns from them and use their guns on them," he said at the time.
Muhammad died from a brain tumor in 2001.
Then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani had called the march a hate gathering and demanded it be stopped exactly at the court-ordered time of 4 p.m. That's when police officers in riot gear moved in and a police helicopter buzzed over the crowd.
Nearly 30 officers and participants were injured.
After the clash, Giuliani defended the police action.
"I gave the order. Police Commissioner Safir gave the order," he said. "So if you would like to investigate me for giving those orders, not only did I give them, I'm proud that I gave them, and I believe that I saved lives."
For the 15th anniversary of that first march, the New Black Panther Party says it's planning another Million Youth March for September 7 at the Harlem State office building.
"I don't want anybody to get scared. I have not come to call you into a fight or a throw down," said Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party.
Those planning the march say they hope to bring thousands together to talk about stopping violence, building self-esteem and economic independence in the black community. There are also plans to rally against the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program.
The organizers say they're reaching out to groups around the city and country to attend the Million Youth March.
"There are social reasons, cultural reasons, there's moral reasons, family reasons we have to have this anniversary," Shabazz said. "But damn it, you better believe there are some political reasons."
Organizers say although they're aren't looking for a battle, they say they won't back down from one if there are attempts to stop the march from happening.