The Nation of Islam Invites You:



The Ministry of Spiritual Development  
The mission of the N.O.I. as a whole and of each of its parts is the spiritual development of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America and our people throughout the world. The mission of the N.O.I. is the resurrection spiritually of a dead people and the entire focus and meaning of its work is to bring about this resurrection as quickly as possible. This is the purpose that gives meaning to all other activities engaged in and is the criterion by which we expect to be judged by Allah and His Messenger, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. As such, the spiritual dimension must be present in all and excluded from none. (copied from AtonementCommission.com).  
For more information, call Student Minister Sultan Muhammad (616) 334-5511.
e-mail: SMSultanM1@gmail.com      
  

From The Final Call Newspaper

Up with Jesus: Down with Santa, What is X-mas really all about?

By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent-

Identity theft is illegal, but Santa Claus is co-opting Jesus with impunity.

Across the world people are planning to celebrate Dec. 25 or Christmas Day, as the son of God’s birthday, but they will actually be doing the opposite.


Two-year-old Mali Muhammad distributes love note to a community resident durin Thanksgiving. Photos: Majidah Muhammad/Khabir Muhammad


“… Jesus was not born in December. God in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, to Whom Praises are due forever, has taught me that his birthday took place between the first and second weeks of September, and that no one knows exactly what day he was born, for it was a secret kept between Joseph and Mary to save them both from being murdered by getting a baby out of wedlock,” stated the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in his 1974 book, “Our Saviour Has Arrived.” He offers a deeper understanding of his teacher, the Great Mahdi Master Fard Muhammad, and insight into prophecies and world events.

“The real truth that the Christians hate to confess is that Joseph had gotten the child, Jesus, by Mary while he was married to another woman and at that time had six children by the first marriage. So Master Fard Muhammad (God in Person) has taught me,” revealed the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

The 25th of December is the birthday of Nimrod, the evil demon of the White race, who was born in the last 300 years of the civilization of Moses, around the 17th century B.C., he wrote.

“Nimrod was one of the most wicked men who ever lived. Nimrod is the man that destroyed the Law of Moses: He broke the civilization of Moses 17 centuries after Moses, and three centuries before Jesus was born into the world,” said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, further explaining what his teacher revealed from God.

“What is meant by ‘he broke the civilization of Moses’ is that Nimrod made the Law of Moses of non-effect. And when you make the law that Moses established of non-effect, you have busted up the civilization of Moses. Nimrod was a man that had a strange [incestuous] relationship with his mother, Semiramis; and when she died, they say an ‘evergreen tree rose up out from her grave,’ and they would put gifts under the tree. So here you are practicing what the heathens practiced who worshipped Nimrod and his mother. Both of them rebelled against God,” stated Min. Farrakhan.

Co-opted, corrupted and commercialized


Christmas is branded with slogans of good cheer, prosperity, merriment, and joy to the world, but the whole season is permeated with stress, greed, commercialization and consumption.

Every holiday season, hundreds of lives are lost due to drunk drivers. Nationally, over the past five years, an average of 300 people died in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Alcohol-impaired fatalities make up more than a quarter of all crash fatalities. In 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes in the month of December alone, according to statistics.

Participation in Christmas to some degree is waning, observed Student Minister Demetric Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 55 and member of the Nation of Islam Research Group.

As consumption and consumerism have become predominant throughout American society, many people aren’t found shying away from purchasing or receiving gifts. “But you have very little of the association of the buying and the receiving of gifts with the religious reasons and the religious traditions that circulate around Jesus as it once was, and that could be both good and bad,” said Demetric Muhammad.

Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 4.5 and 5 percent in 2019, compared to 2018, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. It forecast overall holiday sales will exceed $1.1 trillion between November to January, not to mention e-commerce sales, projected to reach between $144 billion to $149 billion this season, according to the accounting giant’s Sept. 17 press release.

Drunken stupor


During chattel slavery, according to the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, plantation masters who feared their slaves would either escape or revolt, gave them plenty of alcohol to drink during Christmas. And this drunken stupor or state of near-unconsciousness dampened the revolutionary spirit of the slaves.



Majidah Muhammad (with baby) poses with recipient of love note distributed to her community during Thanksgiving.


“In other words, they wanted us to be too drunk, too out of our right mind, to think about the wretchedness of our condition, that really in truth, we didn’t have much to celebrate,” commented Demetric Muhammad. “We didn’t have much to be happy about. We were slaves, and Jesus was born to liberate all mankind, then should not we during his birthday celebration as an appropriate response to the birth of a liberator, should not we seek to liberate ourselves?”

“There is no doubt that too many Africans, unaware of the history of Christmas, will spend too much money that we do not have to splurge during this harmful holiday. However, it is also clear that more and more Africans and other oppressed peoples are escaping the ideological grasp that our oppressors have over us with the use of institutions like Christmas,” Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, told The Final Call in a statement in an email.

He said one of the more egregious or shocking implications of Christmas is that it teaches that there is a fat White man located in a part of the world where labor is often impossible because of the climatic conditions. Yet somehow this obese Caucasian brings goodies that are the product of labor.

“The tale is that these goodies, brought to those who are ‘good,’ are created by mythological creatures called elves. This is a myth that helps to obscure the origin of the wealth in the possession of the White world, the ‘good.’ We know that the wealth was actually created by people, by the enslaved and colonized, especially Africans whose enslavement was part of the productive process that gave birth to the system of capitalism and the rise of White power,” stated Chairman Yeshitela.

Christmas helps to consolidate a White national consciousness upon much of the world and undermines a Black national consciousness necessary for Black liberation, he added.

“It keeps us locked into a belief system that serves our oppressors and supports our servitude. It is a holiday that facilitates the voluntary surrender of our hard-earned resources to our historical exploiters and national oppressors. It is a holiday that serves to keep us loyal to a system that impoverishes and kills our people with impunity,” he said.

“And, of course, it continues to be true that it is a holiday that makes it necessary for us to ignore the heroic struggles of our impoverished parents and elderly to provide for our children,” he continued. “The mythological jolly fat White man, the stand in for White power, is offered up as the real provider for our people whose enslavement created all the wealth that is responsible for White men being fat and jolly.”

The problem of paganism

The problem with the celebration known as Christmas is it’s all about White idolatry or worshipping White images that Blacks cannot see their own Black divinity, according to Dr. Ashra Kwesi, historian and lecturer on ancient African history and religion.

“When we look at this time of the year, that we have to go all the way back to ancient Kemet, referred to as Egypt by the Greeks, and this is where many of the stories were plagiarized from—the holy birth and the origin of the story of the Black Madonna—all is coming up out of African people’s consciousness,” he said.

“That first story of the Black Madonna would be that of a statue the Greeks refer to as Isis and the holy child being Heru and the Holy father being Asar,” according to Dr. Kwesi, who referred to research by the late great Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango, author of “Afrikan People and European Holidays: A Mental Genocide.”



Dr. Barashango chronicled how Christmas and other European holidays were copied from the ancient spiritual system of Black divinity.

Black families seeking spiritual alternatives turn to the Pan African holiday Kwanzaa, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at California State University-Long Beach.

Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles): Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). It is observed Dec. 31-Jan. 1, and was first celebrated in 1966.

Revolution of kindness

“It doesn’t cost money to be kind … this Christmas, let love break out in the ghetto,” said Min. Farrakhan, when he issued a two-fold call in 2015 for people to stop the madness and make Christmas a real mass for Christ.

People like Majidah Muhammad, a young Muslim teacher in Washington, D.C. responded and launched the Spread Love Crew, an effort to feed the spirit. The wife and mother of two, along with her husband, Khabir, their two children, mother, Final Call Staff writer Nisa Muhammad, and brother Nasser, began a crusade to give at least 2,000 hugs and kind notes to strangers by January 2020.

“I gave some to my brother (Nasser Muhammad). He works at a school and he gave them to all the teachers. I have put them on people’s car window shields. I went to feed the hungry in an area where there are some people who don’t have homes, and they’re living outside, and so I gave the notes to them. We’ve been in the mall. We’d hand out the notes. I was in the hospital before visiting one of my friends, I gave them to a nurse, and so really it’s just to put a smile on people’s face and just a way for me to create the world in which I want to see, where people feel valuable, worthy and loved.”

“I would love to live in a world where everyone feels valuable as well as feel loved and I know that I play a part in creating that world that I want to live in,” she said.

“And it really doesn’t take much at all to write a note, literally. We all have paper and pen to write a note to give to somebody that you don’t even know, to just bring joy to them, to show love to them, and it does take vulnerability, of course, to do this, but, we all can do it and the impact is major.”

Part of her effort stems from a mandate by her participation in a leadership group inspiring her to do good, and in part by Min. Farrakhan’s example.

“Specifically with community, of course, I thought about the Minister and how he is constantly spreading love to our community, and I thought about the Minister galvanizing the brothers to go out into the communities with The Final Call,” she said. “And when I had the notes in mind, I imagined going with my husband, my husband with The Final Call and me with the notes to give to people and being able also to give them The Final Call, give them the notes, and invite them out to the mosque,” she stated.

“The picture that is constantly in my head is just the Minister with the people in our community, whether that’s him hugging them, him talking to them, him shaking their hands, and so I am now myself and my family doing the exact same thing.”

“People are already joining. Even when I was passing notes to those who were feeding, other people asked, ‘Oh, can I have some of the notes to hand out?’ ”

She added, “As I write them, I’m like, I need this! This is giving me joy and life and inspiration!”


From The Final Call Newspaper

Hurting, hunting Black Girls and Women: Facing a devastating sex trafficking crisis not limited to vans, strangers and abductions

By Richard B. Muhammad, Bryan 18X Crawford and Brian E. Muhammad The Final Call | @TheFinalCall




Social media warnings of white vans that lock from the outside and follow school buses, arrests in several states, accounts from Black women about kidnap attempts and thousands of missing women and girls have raised fears about increased sex trafficking in the Black community.

The problem, however, is wider than strangers snatching young girls and women, though that happens. It includes a plethora of abuses and failures, said advocates fighting to end the scourge.

The Black and Missing Foundation says Black people, just 13 percent of the American population, are almost 40 percent (232,881) of all missing persons. Black women, just seven percent of America’s population, are 10 percent of all reported missing persons cases, said the foundation. In 2018, roughly 64,000 Black women and girls went missing, it said.

“African American youth are at increased risk for domestic minor sex trafficking, with being female, living in an urban area, and experiencing abuse prior to trafficking all being factors that are associated with risk for sex trafficking. Of the over 300,000 minors in the U.S. who are victims of domestic sex trafficking, it is estimated that 43 percent are African American girls,” according to research by Thema Bryant-Davis, PhD., of Pepperdine University. The U.S. Justice Dept. has reported that of confirmed sex trafficking victims whose race was known, 26 percent were White and 40 percent were Black.

Advocates and survivors believe many missing women and girls are victims of sex trafficking. A 15-year-old Houston girl ended her life in mid-October. The young Latina disappeared at age 13, was drugged and sex trafficked. Her family found her two years later, but she was never the same. Family members were heartbroken when she killed herself.

Who cares about Black girls, women?



“A few years ago, around 80 girls in Washington, D.C., went missing in a month, and it was crazy to me that nobody was talking about this. I started doing research and couldn’t find anything about it,” said Imani Blair, a Virginia-based rap artist. She made a song and a video called “Shoot ‘Em,” about Black women being abducted and taken against their will. “Nobody was talking about it. No news was talking about it; and that made me feel some kind of way. And the more research I’ve done it, the more I’ve learned that this is a really big problem in our community.”

The video for “Shoot ‘Em,” features powerful images. In one scene, Ms. Blair pulls up to a gas station with a group of suspicious men sitting in a nearby car. She doesn’t notice them watching. From the time she pulls into the gas station, walks in and then out again, she’s on her phone; oblivious to her surroundings before she is surrounded and forced into the trunk of a car.

The images are haunting, but at the same time, all too real because this kind of scenario does play out in the Black community and other neighborhoods.

In addition to abductions and kidnappings, young women and girls are often lured into “the life” by promises of love, fame, money or all three. They can also be sold from one trafficker to another. In other cases, young women have gone to parties and found themselves held captive, beaten and forced into sexual slavery.




Chandra Cleveland, based in Columbia, S.C., is an expert who deals with sex trafficking, sextortion, and sexual exploitation. Much of her work focuses on highly vulnerable female runaways.

Among the girls was a common pattern of “friendship” with an older male who influenced them.

“As I kept hearing the stories—after they have been gone for days—it started adding up like this was a plot,” said Ms. Cleveland, who runs a group called It’s On Me 2. “Someone knew what they were doing in order to get these girls.”

Having worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years and through her organization, Ms. Cleveland gained experience working with sexually exploited women and girls.

She believes more awareness is needed through trainings and focusing on sex trafficking, missing females and violence against girls and women. She conducts community trainings as well as sessions at schools, colleges and even corporations.

She and other advocates stress females trapped in “the life” are victims—which has spawned a movement to change laws and end the prosecution of these victims, especially children, for prostitution. There are also efforts to strengthen punishment of customers, or “johns,” pimps, who may be male or female, and combat legalization of prostitution.



Female runways are often labeled fast or loose, noted Ms. Cleveland. But, she said, the girls were often seeking some kind of help and devalued by their community.

Such dysfunction left girls vulnerable to someone selling false hope and who ended up exploiting them, she explained.

“I tell parents … regardless of the child that you raised, when they get around a manipulator such as this, they can change your child in three days to something you never met,” warned Ms. Cleveland.

If girls say something strange or suddenly change, parents and loved ones need to act quickly and find out what’s happening, Ms. Cleveland said.

Then there is the ugly online dimension to the problem.

“Social media plays a critical role,” commented Armie Hicks, a filmmaker based in Atlanta who wrote and produced the film “Circuit,” which explores human trafficking. Mr. Hicks was inspired to make his film because of work his sister did helping survivors of human and sex trafficking. He listened to their stories while working on the film.

“Women are increasingly being lured online with false promises of lives of luxury, love and security,” he said. “Predators can easily message and connect with vulnerable young girls on social media and dating apps.”



These same girls, whether going on a date or casting call for a movie, can end up captives and drugged to force their compliance—if seduction doesn’t work.

And, the sellers or abusers of girls and women are often boyfriends and family members, not strangers.

“Our team was granted interviews with various women who had been sold into modern-day slavery as young girls by their own families or by men who they thought loved them and wanted to build a relationship with them,” Mr. Hicks explained. “They shared their heartbreaking stories, providing a glimpse into the very dark and dirty world of human trafficking that we needed in order to know that this was a much-needed film. As a father, son and brother of Black women, this scared the hell out of me.”

Ms. Cleveland said the increase in sex trafficking is also tied to the so-called gang culture with some shifting from illicit drug dealing to prostituting young girls.

“African American men who have been caught with drugs before have found out that it’s easier to get a little girl from school and flip the value on her over and over again,” said Ms. Cleveland. “It’s not like they have to hide a commodity, or they have to go and get it. The human commodity is more accessible, and they make more money.”

Since traffickers are looking for vulnerable victims, they may recruit girls from foster homes or group homes, or target women who are already in jail using online records about sentencing and release dates. They may send money to women who are incarcerated and romance them. Once the women are released, traffickers may offer drugs and a place to stay. In the end, they push the women into sex work to repay their debts, sometimes under threat of violence. They may also literally lock women into rooms or houses.

A billion-dollar industry

Human trafficking, or modern slavery, affects some 40.3 million people worldwide. That means for every 1,000 people, nearly six are victims of human trafficking. Nearly five million people endure “forced sexual exploitation,” and as the International Labor Organizations reports, some $99 billion is made.

While only 19 percent of victims of human trafficking are sexually exploited, the money generated represents 66 percent of the global human trafficking profits. Every woman forced into sex trafficking generates approximately $100,000 annually. Those persons trafficked for non-sexual purposes generate around $22,000 a year.

“Domestic minor sex trafficking is the commercial sexual exploitation of children within U.S. borders. Congress, in the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, has made sex trafficking of a minor a crime. Federal law makes it a crime when a person ‘recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, obtains, advertises, maintains, patronizes, or solicits by any means’ a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act. When considering the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking, under the TVPA, the victim’s age is the critical issue—there is no requirement to prove that force, fraud, or coercion was used to secure the victim’s actions if the victim is a minor. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1 in 7 endangered runaways reported to NCMEC in 2018 were likely child sex trafficking victims,” said the Protected Innocence Challenge, which does an annual report on domestic child sex trafficking.

Its 2019 report found positive changes in laws that once punished child victims. The group wants to see continued changes in laws that target customers and pimps, which have seen increased penalties.

A federal judge sentenced rapper Jaimian Simms, a 27-year-old Black man, to life in prison Nov. 22 following his conviction for conspiracy and sex trafficking. U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered $1,575 in restitution to a 17-year-old victim. At trial, the jury heard that Mr. Simms trafficked adult and minor females. The jury also saw and heard three rap videos featuring Mr. Simms which contained many of the terms used in prostitution. “He references selling ‘White’ women and how successful he is at being a pimp,” said federal prosecutors. “The defense attempted to convince the jury that the women were not victims and engaged in the sex acts willingly nor did he use force, fraud or coercion to make them do so. They were not convinced and found him guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and sex trafficking of a minor.”

Sex trafficking victims are often presented in online ads and sometimes in dating apps. The online website BackPage.com was shut down in 2018 for running ads soliciting sex.

Federal authorities charged a South Florida man, William Foster, with running a sex ring and recruiting girls from foster homes in November. The man had the women, two of whom were brought into the operations as minors, selling sex as far away as Detroit and created a non-profit foster care company, said authorities.

Jason Roger Pope, 42, from Florence, S.C., withdrew his request for bail in October as he faces sex trafficking and child sex crime charges. Federal authorities say the 42-year-old White male preyed on young females, often boasting of his Black conquests, according to BET.com. He is charged with promoting the prostitution of a minor, kidnapping, three counts of trafficking people, and criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree. Authorities say others may have been victimized and are seeking help from the public.

“Arrest warrants show that between July 2017 and July 2019, Pope allegedly forced four underaged girls to perform sex acts at his home. One of the girls was reportedly as young as 13. Another alleged victim, a 17-year-old girl, told police Pope gave her money, drugs and/or other items in exchange for sex,” BET.com reported. “Between July 1, 2018, and Sept. 1, 2019, Pope sexually assaulted a 16-year-old, identified as A.B., and paid the victim for sex acts, according to arrest warrants,” said BET.com citing TV station WMBF. Authorities also accuse the deejay and party promoter of sexually assaulting a 14 year old, holding another teenager in his home against her will and assaulting her. One victim feared she contracted AIDS from Mr. Pope, whose record of improper conduct with minors goes back to 2011, said BET.com.

“According to a Facebook screenshot, Pope reportedly once bragged that ‘I’m 36 with 693 BODIES (All Black females), WBU?’ Atlanta Black Star reports,” said BET.com.

Some feel more needs to be done on the enforcement side.

“While the demand for African Americans for sexual exploitation is higher than that of other races, the penalties associated with trafficking African Americans are less severe resulting in smaller jail sentences for abductors,” filmmaker Hicks said. “Survivors cannot even receive the small comfort in knowing their abductors and abusers are justly punished for their crimes.”

Sudan Muhammad, who lives in Prince Georges County, Md., is publisher of “Youth Creation Community Outreach” as part of her ministry to expose sex trafficking, help victims and warn the public. She visits areas rife with prostitution and often shares information via social media. She offers food, clothing, a listening ear and help to women trapped in the life.

“I’m a survivor. I was a part of human trafficking back in the 80’s. I know what it’s like,” Ms. Muhammad said. “This is back when young women and girls were sold for crack, being unsuspecting, set-up, and not knowing what was going on.”

Ms. Muhammad said in the DMV area (Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia), human trafficking is all too common. Some put themselves at risk, some put their children at risk out of financial desperation, she explained.

“Prince Georges county is said to be the richest Black county on paper, but you have a lot of people working low end jobs who can’t pay upwards of $1,500 a month for their rent. You wouldn’t believe the number of evictions that happen in Maryland,” said Ms. Muhammad. “So, you have a lot of scouts in our community—procurers, they call them—who tell these young girls if they make a movie, they can make upwards of $2,000 and pay their rent in a couple of minutes. This is why pornography is so normalized in our community because these girls and women think the quickest way to make money is to lay on their backs.”

Mothers and fathers in the Black community are pimping their own children out for money and if they come up missing, they won’t tell the police the real reason their child ran away, she added. It’s not uncommon to walk DMV streets and see advertisements for girls to make pornography, or work in strip clubs, she said.

“Allah had to put me through something so I would have a deep amount of empathy, compassion and understanding. So, I became an advocate for other women … who are suffering and nobody’s hearing them because nobody’s listening,” Ms. Muhammad said.

Judgments passed on women and girls caught in “the life,” and reducing them to nothing more than whores, sluts and thots needs to stop, advocates said. This mindset helps justify exploitation of Black women and girls, they said.

A call for Black men to stand up

“When I’m out and I see a group of Black men, I should feel safe. I should feel like those are my brothers and if something happens, they’re going to help me. Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” Imani Blair said. “I think if Black men showed more love and support for Black women, especially in public spaces, and not in a creepy or sexual way, we’d be good. We just need more love and support; I got you and you got me.”

“Men have to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize the responsibility we have to protect our women,” Mr. Hicks added. “Men have to listen up. If women are complaining about predatory men or habits, we have to listen and take them seriously. Men have to step in and confront predators if we see someone being targeted. Men must also confront and challenge our own misogyny and sexist views of women. By doing this, our frame of thinking begins to change and as a result, other men’s view on misogyny changes as well.”

“Those of us as Black men who are standing around pontificating on this subject matter of sex trafficking, and untold numbers of missing Black women and children, needs to stop pontificating,” Craig Khanwell declared.

Mr. Khanwell, founder of the Columbia, S.C.-based Vision Walkers, said Black men must organize and address the problem. Black men need to patrol the community, making “our women and our children” safe, instead of going to White law enforcement agencies, he said.

“Oft times it’s those same law enforcement agencies and others—even the military—are involved in the sex trafficking of our women,” he said.

“If we have to make examples of people then that’s what has to be done,” Mr. Khanwell continued. “We’ve been talking to damn much and doing too little.”

Blacks are “sitting back watching while the sellout negroes—because there are a lot of Black men in this—are selling our women and children across the country and the world,” Mr. Khanwell said.

The devaluing of the female is a universal problem beyond color and nationality, however because of the history and sordid legacy of racism and slavery, Black women in America are disproportionately exploited.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who has a track record of advocating for the uplift and advancement of women, has warned about the devastating impact of abusing females.

“We must respect and honor women if the nation is ever to be great,” Minister Farrakhan wrote, in his book, “A Torchlight for America.”

“When we do not have a proper appreciation for women, this is reflected in society. Women should be active in every field of endeavor except those that degrade them,” the Minister advised. “The maintenance of women as sex objects is destroying society,” he warned.

Sex trafficking is “commodification and consumption of bodies,” and victims can be adults or children, male and female. Law enforcement says the illicit trade involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel another person to perform sex to financially profit third parties. Sex trafficking is human trafficking specifically for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual slavery is when a victim is forced, in a variety of ways, into dependency on their traffickers and pushed into sex work.

There is no “type” of female in sex trafficking, said activists and advocates. They come from various social and economic backgrounds. College girls are being targeted, said Ms. Cleveland.

Those who buy sex services include pastors, police officers, attorneys—almost anyone.

Black organizations and faith groups, like mosques and churches, need to get involved combating the crisis that is disproportionally affecting Blacks, said advocates.

“If we wait on someone else to save us, the numbers will continue to grow,” warned Ms. Cleveland. “Our community needs to step forth, get educated and change the way that they think about our Black women and girls.”

“Until we learn to love and protect our woman, we will never be a fit and recognized people on the earth. The White people here among you will never recognize you until you protect your woman,” warned the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, in his writings.

“My beloved brothers in America, you have lost the respect for your woman and, therefore, you have lost the respect for yourself. You won’t protect her; therefore, you can’t protect yourself,” he wrote.


From The Final Call Newspaper

Boycotts, ‘buycotts,’ & Black dollar power

By Charlene Muhammad National Correspondent @sischarlene


Annual Black spending strategies designed to support demands for racial justice and end police violence are kicking in as 2019 ends and reports of major store closures emerge.

Retailers with high hopes for Black Friday spending have offered deals earlier this year to help spike holiday sales. But activists have kicked in with Black Friday boycotts and “buycotts” just as early this year.

In the run-up to the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, Justice Or Else! in Washington, D.C., Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan called for Blacks to pull their money from the U.S. economy by not spending money during the holiday shopping season.

Minister Farrakhan quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often in the run-up to the 2015 gathering in the nation’s capital saying, “We have to find a way to redistribute the pain.”


A protester holds a sign in Chicago, Nov. 24, 2017, during a demonstration billed as a “march for justice” on Black Friday. Photo: AP Nam Y. Huh


“We have to now withdraw our economic support, so that those who give us pain can receive some pain in return,” Minister Farrakhan added.

He was inspired by Dr. King, Jr.’s desire for a 1963 Christmas boycott after the White supremacist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four little Black girls.

And, in his final speech in Memphis on April 3, 1968, Dr. King talked about using Black economics in the fight for justice. He was assassinated the next day.

“We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles,” said Dr. King in some of his last words. “We don’t need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country, and say, ‘God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.’

“And so, as a result of this, we are asking you tonight, to go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy—what is the other bread? Wonder Bread. And what is the other bread company, Jesse? Tell them not to buy Hart’s bread. As Jesse Jackson has said, up to now, only the garbage men have been feeling pain; now we must kind of redistribute the pain. …

“But not only that, we’ve got to strengthen Black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis. Go by the savings and loan association. … Put your money there. You have six or seven Black insurance companies here in the city of Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an ‘insurance-in.’ Now these are some practical things that we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts.”

The lack of opportunity, injustice, race-related and police killings of Blacks has continued.

Black people were 25 percent of those killed despite being only 13 percent of the population, according to MappingPoliceViolence.com. Blacks were three times more likely to be killed by police than White people and 21 percent of Black victims were unarmed compared to 14 percent of White victims, according to Mapping Police Violence.

Beyond dangers faced by Blacks, holiday stress is affecting people across America. According to a November Bankrate.com survey, “More than 6 out of 10 people told Bankrate they feel pressure to overspend on either presents, travel, social outings or charitable donations during the holiday season.”

“About half (51 percent) of survey respondents told Bankrate they feel pressure to spend more than they are comfortable with on gifts during the holidays. The percentage was significantly higher than those worried about breaking their budget for charity (30 percent), social gatherings (28 percent) or holiday travel (24 percent),” Bankrate.com reported.



Nathaniel Dyer carries a sign during a Black Lives Matter protest near Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Sept. 24, 2016, in response to the police shooting deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla. and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Branden Camp


“Consumers are expected to spend almost $1,048 on average during the 2019 holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation, a rise of 4 percent from last year. The national trade organization forecasts holiday retail sales during November and December reaching a total of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion,” said Bankrate.com.

Sixteen percent of those surveyed by Bankrate.com said they were considering “skipping or boycotting gifts altogether.”

Most people (31 percent) told Bankrate they start worrying about holiday costs in November as the holiday displays start to go up and Black Friday appeals bombard everyone. Twenty-three percent of respondents worry about how much the holidays will cost in October, while 20 percent of people don’t start stressing until December.

“The end of the year can be a tricky financial time for families even before considering holiday costs. Colder temps often mean higher heating or energy bills or expenses to winterize cars and homes. Charities and other programs help some families struggling to juggle end-of-year expenses,” Bankrate.com observed.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, reported that despite near-record credit card debt levels, some 35 million Americans still have credit card debt from last holiday season, and nearly one-third of consumers will spend less on holiday this year than last year.

“That indicates people are just treading water financially and have been unable to use the past 12 months to prepare for the next recession, the arrival of which is just a matter of time,” warned WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.

“The fact that nearly one-third of consumers plan on spending less this holiday season than they did last year could be either good or bad news. It depends on whether people are recognizing the need to cut back and save before it’s too late or simply beginning to falter financially.”


Up with Jesus, down with Santa

“You’re either going to treat us right, or we’re going to withdraw from you our economic support,” said Min. Farrakhan. “We intend to boycott Christmas but not Jesus. We choose not to spend dollars on Black Friday, Black Saturday, Black Sunday, Black Monday. We are not going to spend our money for the rest of that year with those companies that we have traditionally spent our money on,” the Minister added.

“If you love Christ, then to hell with Santa! Up with Jesus! Down with Santa!” Minister Farrakhan reiterated during Part 2 of his Justice Or Else! address delivered on Oct. 11, 2015 at the Washington, D.C. Marriott Marquis.

Last year, Minister Farrakhan called on Blacks to be kind and loving to each other; to be the gift, instead of spending money on children and giving the credit to a mythical Caucasian. “Let love break out in the ghetto,” said Minister Farrakhan, as he offered an alternative Holiday approach that reflected the Holy Quran’s 107th Chapter, “Acts of Kindness.”

“I thought it was prophetic, providential … As we know, God always calls his prophets to a place of warning the people before devastation comes,” said Pastor Dinah Tatman of St. John African Episcopal Church in Kennett, Mo., and CEO-founder of Greater New Visions Ministries, Inc. of Minister Farrakhan’s call.

It came in a timely manner, said Rev. Tatman, also co-convener of “No Justice, No Profit” boycott.

She started the campaign with other leaders in St. Louis to not only boycott businesses, including Target, US Bank, Burger King, Shell, Schnucks grocery chain, Gap, Inc., Goldman Sachs, and the St. Louis Galleria Mall, but to encourage Blacks to spend with one another. “I recognized that if Black people withheld our money, we could get anything we want,” said Pastor Tatman.

Among things they wanted at the time No Justice, No Profit launched on November 2, 2017 was justice in then-officer Jason Stockley’s fatal 2011 killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. The cop’s acquittal set off a new wave of outrage and protests.

The community and the country were already in turmoil over the killing of Michael Brown, Jr., by White male officer Darren Wilson in 2014 and the failure of state and federal authorities to charge the cop in the 18-year-old’s death.

“If we can recognize the power that we have, and use it, and stop begging, kings and queens don’t beg. Yet we beg the masters to take care of us when we take care of everybody else, except for us. When we recognize us, things will change. So, I love Brother Minister Farrakhan, because he’s not afraid to stand on the greatness, and the justice, and the righteousness of God and speak what God has told him to speak unabashedly, and not be afraid,” stated Pastor Tatman.

In addition to No Justice, No Profit, groups like the Chicago-based Black Mall and Houston-based Shrine of the Black Madonna, have consistently worked on two fronts. Their efforts began locally but have grown to inspire support nationally.

Nailah Nelson, executive director of the Shrine of the Black Madonna’s Shrine Cultural and Event Center, observed that five years after Justice Or Else! Blacks are still experiencing injustice, police brutality, and injustice. People cannot let up, she said.

“We started this movement as a response to the brutality with Michael Brown, following the Justice Or Else! movement with the Honorable Minister Farrakhan. We did it in an effort to raise consciousness and to recirculate the dollars into the Black community,” Ms. Nelson said.

“It is a boycott movement empowering our people, and the only way that we could effectively do this is to join together and boycott the stores, put our dollars back into the Black community, because Black businesses are the largest employers of Black people. So, this is for our own economic development that we seek to push our movement,” Ms. Nelson told The Final Call.

The Shrine’s Buy Black Market started on the first Saturday of every month but has grown to include the third Saturday of the month as well. What began with approximately 30 vendors has grown to a list of over 620 across the country, according to Ms. Nelson. She is hoping the group will launch an online component to its economic movement in mid-December.

“We joined with the Justice Or Else! under Minister Farrakhan and we’ve been doing it effectively since then, giving small Black businesses an opportunity to grow their business,” Ms. Nelson said.


‘Retail apocalypse’ hits U.S. stores


“More than 9,100 stores are closing in 2019 as the retail apocalypse drags on,” reported Business Insider in November. The story looked at statistics for record-breaking store closures.

Charlotte Russe, Family Dollar, and Chico’s announced more than 1,100 store closures in a span of 24 hours at one point. Payless ShoeSource, which filed for bankruptcy in February, is closing 2,500 stores, amounting to the largest retail liquidation in history. The Gap is closing 230 stores over the next two years. Walgreens plans to close 200 stores, and GameStop is closing 180 to 200 stores.

Sears, Kmart, Party City, Walgreens, and Barneys are among the retailers that recently announced store closings. Forever 21 expects to close 350 stores globally, including 178 in the U.S. after filing for bankruptcy. Sears planned to close 175 stores, and Walmart is closing at least 17 stores across the U.S. and Canada.

“Anybody who would just do their research since 2015 and go back and look at Minister Farrakhan’s Saviours’ Day address in 2016, he laid out the stats during his message, and it has only increased since them,” said Jesse Muhammad, social media director for Minister Farrakhan. “That’s one thing that can’t be overlooked … and it has not stopped.”

Big box stores including Sam’s Club and Walmart reported closures, as well as everything from vitamin and health stores, to cookware stores, children’s clothing and toy stores, and electronics stores.

Some mainstream analysts blame tax reforms, lingering effects of the U.S. government shutdown—Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019—and severe, unmerciful weather for the decline of brick-and-mortar stores. But Black activists and some Black leaders say the tsunami store closings are also tied to strategic withdrawal of Black dollars as a weapon against injustice.

“Right now what’s really awesome is that our efforts were not in vain,” said Casseopia Uhuru, co-founder of The Black Mall, based in Chicago. “There are more people buying Black than ever! So, actually, this particular year, we’re not having our usual, annual Buy Black holiday event, because there are so many people now heading up their own small business markets and fairs that are featuring Black-owned businesses all over. We don’t want to create any type of competition,” said Ms. Uhuru.

She is so excited about Black business engagement and commerce with The Black Mall online (https://theblackmall.com), and a South Side storefront, using it’s platforms to highlight many businesses. The Black Mall plans to release a Holiday Gift Guide, and daily info about great Black-owned businesses for an economic “buycott,” Ms. Uhuru told The Final Call.

The call for justice has raised awareness and interest, so Blacks are looking at ways to strengthen their own communities, she said.


No easy victories

There have been some small victories in getting police brutality indictments, but they’re not sufficient, added Ms. Uhuru, who cited the second-degree murder conviction last year of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to death.

He was found also guilty on all 16 counts of aggravated battery—one for each shot he fired into the teenager in October 2014. Activists say he received a “slap on the wrist” sentence, which was a slap in the face. Mr. Van Dyke could have faced a maximum sentence of 96 years, but prosecutors sought 18 to 20 years.

Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced the killer cop to 81 months, less than seven years, in state prison, on the second-degree murder conviction only. The ex-cop could serve a little more than three years in prison with time served and enjoy the possibility of parole in two years.

“Now we know if this happens again, we need a stronger prosecution, and longer terms and being more knowledgeable of the actual judicial system itself and how if you don’t actually convict on the correct charge, then literally, somebody could get away with murder!” said Ms. Uhuru.

“I think what’s happening is that one aspect of awareness is helping us to be more knowledgeable in the other areas that we need to be more knowledgeable in, like the judicial system, like the political system, and how we are living in a capitalistic country and politics is directly connected to corporations and how they work,” said Ms. Uhuru.


Just a beginning of the fight


While there have been victories with the Justice Or Else! economic boycotts, activists are under no illusion that justice has won the day.

Former Fort Worth Officer Aaron Dean, who was supposed to be responding to a neighbor’s well care call, shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her own home, in front of her 8-year-old nephew on Oct. 12.

Convicted White female former officer Amber Guyger is serving 10 years in prison for fatally shooting 26-year-old Saint Lucian native Botham Jean inside his Dallas home on Sept. 6, 2018. She claimed she mistook his apartment for hers, felt threatened and fired her weapon.

In Arizona, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier placed Deputy Manuel Van Santen on administrative leave following violent arrests of a 15-year-old quadruple amputee, with no arms or legs, and a teenager who recorded the Sept. 26 incident at a Tucson group home.

The 15 year old was upset and knocked over a trash can, prompting the call for police, according to media reports. Disorderly conduct charges against him were dropped after an explosive video of the incident surfaced in November. The other teenager, a 16 year old, was still facing charges at Final Call press time, media reports indicated.

“What it’s really doing is it’s waking us up in a really grand way, understanding how nations work. Period. We’ve just been bystanders. We’ve just kind of let it gloss over us and done lots of unfortunate, just complaining, but not really understanding how we can get to the root of these issues so we can fight back in the most effective way,” Ms. Uhuru said.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)