National Black United Front celebrates 30 years of grassroots organizingBy Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Jul 26, 2009 - 8:25:28 PM
As a testament to the longevity of the movement, and the relevancy of its existence, those present praised Dr. Conrad Worrill for his relentless effort to stand up for the rights of Black people, including members of the next generation of organizational leadership.
“We are in the 30th year of struggle, service and sacrifice on the front lines for Black people,” said Kofi Taharka, chairman of the Houston chapter of NBUF during his introductory remarks at the opening session of the convention on July 16 at Kennedy-King College on Chicago's south side.
In the audience and on the dais were many of the pillars of the Black nationalist movement, including Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, an interfaith coalition rooted in Black theology, Leonard Dunston, president emeritus of the National Association of Black Social Workers, author Dr. Raymond Winbush of Morgan State University and Elder Jitu Weusi, whom Dr. Worrill said mentored him and taught him many organizational practices and principles during the formation of his leadership strategies while at the helm of NBUF.
“Most Black liberation organizations from the 1960s are not around anymore, but we're still here,” said Dr. Worrill, the long-time chairman of the National Black United Front, and a founding member of the organization.
Dr. Worrill reminded the audience that it was on the very same day, July 16, 1966, in Lowndes County, Mississippi that Mukasa “Willie” Ricks whispered in the ear of Kwame Ture, then known as Stokely Carmichael, the words “Black Power.” Kwame Ture spoke the words at a rally, the phrase was well-received by the crowd, and the Black Power Movement was born.
Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party and director of Black Lawyers for Justice, traveled from Washington, D.C. to be a part of NBUF's convention, and was given the honor of introducing the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan.
In a rousing introduction that brought the crowd to its feet, Atty. Shabazz reminded those in attendance that were it not for Minister Farrakhan's courageous stand to prevent the name of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad from being trashed, then written out of history, and to rebuild the work of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, there would be no Black consciousness movement.
“There would be no Malcolm X, there would be no Muhammad Ali, there would be no Black Panther Party, no Black consciousness movement of the '60s, no Black Power anything without the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He's the father of all that Black stuff!”
Min. Farrakhan spoke of the need for a Black united front, and said Black people in America are a “nation of people held hostage” and living in a time of great deceit, adding that he has never seen so many Black people hanging and waving American flags.
The Minister said the 400 year sojourn of Black people in America was not an accident. God's hand was in fact involved in it because behind all causes is God, he said.
“God had a reason for our suffering, and it was not because we were wicked people,” said Min. Farrakhan. “We have been fashioned by the enemy into a problem that only God can solve, and we are a people that present America with a problem.”
“The enemy is holding an entire nation of people as a hostage,” he said. But he added many Blacks willingly continue to be held as “lawful captives.”
Minister Farrakhan said many Blacks are mannequins in the window to sell the “half-truth and bold lie” that you can make it if you try, and to sell democracy. These are distractions to keep Blacks from seeing how much they really need each other to build their own communities because for many years, Blacks have listened to leaders, however, they have failed to build a civilization for themselves.
“It is not money that Black people need to solve our problems,” said Min. Farrakhan adding that America is bankrupt anyway. Even still, those who control the money wouldn't mind giving money, because Blacks would give it right back in less than a day because of our lack of fiscal responsibility he said.
“He's glad to give you money, but will not transfer knowledge because it is the transfer of knowledge from our fathers to the Europeans that caused the Renaissance and the building of their civilization. If you are going to build again as our fathers once built, you can't build it with just song and dance!”
“There's a war going on right now, a war between God and Satan over you,” the Minister said.
Though Dr. Worrill is moving from his position as national chairman to make way for the next generation of leadership within the organization, he is not retiring.
“Quit asking me if I am retiring,” said Dr. Worrill. “I ain't retiring, I'm stepping up. I'm an elder and I'm using my considerable experience to help guide, to help facilitate, I don't have to do all of the things I used to do, but I'll be doing the same things I always did because my mind is straight. As a matter of fact, my mind is straighter than its ever been,” said Dr. Worrill said this year's convention is a time to elect new leadership that will continue the work NBUF has been doing for the past 30 years and he had confidence that Kofi Taharka, is up to the task.
“Kofi listens, he's been around us a long time, he is skilled, he has his own creativity, he is a great organizer, he speaks well in the public and knows how to relate to people on the ground. I think he has all of the characteristics necessary to be the national leader of this organization,” said Dr. Worrill.
(For more information about NBUF, call 773-493-0900 or visit www.nbufront.org)