Hoping to tap into the galvanizing spirit on display in the nation's capital, a handful of local black activists are staging a discussion forum Monday in Costa Mesa on the role of African American men, to coincide with the "Million Man March" on Washington.
The 1:30 p.m. event at the Costa Mesa Community Center is a call to the African American men who cannot travel to Washington but want to embrace the march's message of unity and self-evaluation, said local organizer James L. Porter.
"It's not a rally, it's not a march," Porter said. "It's a forum for the people who want to be in Washington but cannot make the trip. We want a room with some dynamic minds that can interact together and discuss issues."
The issues at the heart of the mammoth Washington event and its modest Orange County counterpart are the role and future of black men in the United States. The march has been called a "day of atonement" by its organizers, who say they want to rally young black men to become more involved in their communities.
While the march has been dogged by controversy--most of it directed toward chief organizer Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam's leader--Porter said the Costa Mesa event will center solely on "positive community discussion."
"Look at the man in the mirror," said Porter, a former social worker who lost his job when Orange County declared bankruptcy. "We are all responsible for our own actions. Quit pointing fingers. We have to think about the new generation. They're the future."
The event will feature several speakers from the black business community, a comedian and a showing of network news coverage of the Washington march. Porter said he expects a crowd of about 80, but will be pleased with any turnout.
The center is at 1845 Park Ave. For more information, call (714) 645-8551.