In the midst of civil rights activists and community leaders urging the Black community to remain peaceful during their push for justice, Nation of Islam leader minister Louis Farrakhan is calling for a different response to the grand jury’s decision.
As with any major movement that sweeps across an entire nation, a diversity of opinions have surfaced as to what will be the most effective response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of the unarmed 18-year-old.
“We going to die anyway,” Farrakhan said. “Let’s die for something.”
The 81-year-old Bronx native grew increasingly passionate about the topic as he continued, at one point accidentally referring to the Missouri city as “Jefferson” rather than Ferguson.
“Those young people in Jefferson, they’re not afraid of no tanks,” he said.
Shortly afterwards Farrakhan corrected himself after audience members pointed out the mistake.
“Ferguson, yeah,” he said. “What did I say?”
The minister’s message remained clear—although not everybody is seeing eye-to-eye with his more radical stance on racism in America.
He went on to say that racist institutions will not be changed if the Black community does not remain diligent and passionate in their push for justice.
Farrakhan continued to address the applauding crowd and reminded them that the Black community is eager to see changes and have grown weary of dealing with a system that doesn’t seem to value Black lives.
“We’re tired!” Farrakhan exclaimed before saying that Blacks are willing to exhaust all options in order to finally be treated as equals.
Farrakhan criticized educators who were sitting in the room and referred to them as “the worst” for not using their platform to empower the Black community.
“You have bought into the enemy,” he said, pointing at the educators who surrounded him. “And you want to lead your people—not to God, not to Jesus—but you want to lead them into the path of their open enemy that God has come to separate them from.”
He also called out President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder and criticized their sudden presence in the discussions of racism in America.
“Tonight in Ferguson everybody is on edge,” he said. “White folks have never been on edge after they killed a Black man. Tonight they’re on edge; so on edge that our president has come out from behind the curtain to ask young Black people: ‘Cool it. That’s not our way.’ I hear you, Mr. President; and I asked myself a question: What brings you out of the shadows?’”
He said that both leaders were “being the pacifier for the white man’s tyranny upon Black people.”
His entire address lasted more than 10 minutes and can be watched in full below: