Antoine Torrence is in the middle. See what he has to say about Saviours Day.
When was the first time you heard of the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan?
The first time I had heard about the Nation of Islam was when I was young, probably back in 1992, when I was around the age of 7 or 8. Around that time I was hearing a lot of conscious talk in the black community and among my father and older brother, but I didn’t quite understand what they were saying. I had heard my father talk about the Nation of Islam being an organization that taught black people to love one another, and how knowledge of self was very important, which made me curious to know more about who these people were. I always heard bad things about the NOI in the news, but the black people in my neighborhood always spoke highly of how the organization took care of black people. Then my parents took me to see the Spike Lee film Malcolm X, and I just remember so much excitement amongst the older people in the neighborhood, and Nation of Islam was a name that kept coming up in conversations about the film and Malcolm X. The first time I had consciously heard about Minister Louis Farrakhan and understood who he was, was when he appeared on an episode of Arsenio Hall. I remember watching the show with my parents and my older brother, and my father and brother kept speaking on how this man will save black people and was the last great leader still around, and that we need to listen to him. Then a few days later I learned the show was cancelled because of Farrakhan appearance on the show, so this led to want to know even more about this man, because I saw he was loved by black people, but hated by others also.
Who and what brought you to Saviours’ Day 2010?
I was brought to Saviours’ Day this year, because I felt I NEEDED to be there. I had always had an interest in attending Saviours’ Day since I had learned about this celebration, but never played on it. I always had a problem with finding people to travel with to attend Saviours’ Day, and that was the case this year also. Though I couldn’t find anyone interested in going to Saviours’ Day this year, I felt I needed to be there, and I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I had always had an interest in hearing Minister Farrakhan speak live, so I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by me again, and I had heard his health hadn’t been the best the last few years, so I knew this is the year I will go see Minister Farrakhan. I did have a little doubt in going, especially since i’m not a member of the Nation of Islam, but what was the icing on the cake was when I watched the Webcast that the Nation of Islam did right before Saviours’ Day, and Farrakhan spoke on how this will be a very historic event, and it may take a while to digest this particular lecture. He spoke in such a way that let me know I needed to attend this event by any means necessary, right then I knew I was going to Chicago to attend Saviours’ Day 2010, and bought my plane ticket, booked a hotel room and registered for it later that night.
What were your views of Saviours’ Day?
Initially I was a little nervous about attending Saviours’ Day alone, because I didn’t know what to expect, but after I heard the keynote address by Minister Farrakhan, I had felt Saviours’ Day was one of the most incredible celebrations I had ever attended. The brothers and Sisters that I had met during the celebration were some of the friendliest and accepting people I had ever met. Everything was well organized, and I gained many tools that will help me become a better person and do for self. Honestly Saviours’ Day was probably one of my most enjoyable experiences in the 24 years of my life.
What did you enjoy the most about Saviours’ Day?
This is a hard question here, because I enjoyed every minute of Saviours’ Day, from the time I spent in the workshops, to the time I spent meeting brothers and sister in the vending area, and the entertainment that went on friday and saturday night, but I would say my most enjoyable experience during Saviours’ Day was probably when I attended the keynote lecture by Minister Farrakhan. I have waited my whole life to see this man speak, and Sunday, February 28, 2010 was the day it came to life. His lecture was one of the best lectures I had ever attended, which will probably hold dearly to my heart. Other things I enjoyed about this was I met some of the most humble and loving brothers and sisters of my life, I could never thank them enough for the conversations, and the time they spent in making me feel comfortable at this wonderful celebration. I had two brothers from the Nation of Islam who took really good care of me, and helped make this a greater experience for me, and they are Brother Jesse Muhammad and Brother Hannibal, thank you brothers.
Do you plan on returning for Saviours Day 2011?
I will definitely be returning to Saviours’ Day in 2011, like I said before this was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, so I will most definitely be back next year, and I will also bring other people with me so they can see what I mean. I’ve already started planning on attending A Day of Atonement already with a sister that I met while at Saviours’ Day this year.
What would you want all of your friends and family to know about Saviours Day?
I want all my friends and family to know Saviours’ Day though it’s a holiday celebrated by the Nation of Islam, it’s a very important holiday that we should celebrate also, even if we don’t practice Islam or any religion period. If it wasn’t for Master Fard Muhammad, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan we would not be where we are now as a people today. I had a lot of fun, and gained many tools in life that will help me and my family become better individuals. Also, the people I met at Saviours’ Day were some of the most accepting people I had ever met, a lot of them knew I wasn’t NOI, but still treated me as a brother, and I made a lot of friends the few days I was there. I hope people read this interview and see how I was moved by this celebration and I’m not even a member of the Nation of Islam.
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