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CNN Today

Thousands Assemble on National Mall For Million Family March

Aired October 16, 2000 - 1:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Million Man March. Now, in an effort to revive the spirit, thousands of folks are taking part in a Million Family March.

CNN's Kathleen Koch is covering that at the National Mall in Washington -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, well, a steady stream of families continues to flow onto the mall here for the Million Family March. It's a day of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility. And the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, again the sponsor of this march just as he was five years ago, and the Nation of Islam, though, are trying to broaden the message here to make this a more inclusive event. So they have invited not just families, but people of all races and religions.

Now many people who we spoke with here today say that they came, though, to recapture the spirit, that feeling of unity and pride that was really generated in the previous marches, while others said that they came here to help their families understand the importance of the family unit and its importance in society.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To learn how to be closer to family. Regardless of all the differences that you have within a family, you're still a family unit. Blood is always thicker than water and you need to always remember that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them to take away love for their fellow man, of all races and all creeds. I want them to take away with them the remembrance that they were part of historymaking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: An unlikely partnership is on display here today. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church are cosponsoring this event. So though we have largely seen African-Americans participating, there are some Unification Church members present, as well as, a matter of fact, about an hour ago they were to have a mass wedding of some 10,000 couples.

Now, as we look around the mall, there are people stretching from the Washington Monument to the capital of -- behind us. However, they are not standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and many people who are both participants and even some of the vendors here today were telling us that during the Million Man March, people were shoulder-to-shoulder, you could barely move. And they are quoting -- it's their very unofficial count -- the attendance of perhaps 20 percent of what it was for the Million Man March five years ago, which was counted at about 400,000.

Now, there will be no official count because, because of the controversy five years ago, the U.S. Park Police is no longer in that business.

Back to you, Lou.

WATERS: OK, Kathleen Koch on the National Mall.

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