One Community, One Agenda! - Black leaders meet in LondonBy Trevon Muhammad | Last updated: Jan 8, 2014 - 3:29:09 PM
Black leaders meet in London and agree to united front for progress in 2014
In celebration of the second principle of Kwanzaa; Kujichagulia (Swahili for self-determination), guests met with a view to building institutions and creating real opportunities for Black men and women across the United Kingdom.
Among those in attendance were Liberal democrat councilor and Lewisham mayoral candidate Duwayne Brooks; fellow politician and the former editor of The Voice newspaper Lester Holloway; influential hip-hop artist Jaja Soze; popular DJ and youth worker Asher Senator as well as international gang intervention specialist Twilight Bey of the Social Solutions Institute.
Student Minister Hilary Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s UK representative, delivered a passionate keynote address, calling on leaders to “go all in” for the liberation of Black people and focus on building institutions to pass onto the next generation.
“His teacher The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad was focused solely on the rise of his people,” he continued. “Malcolm X wasn’t a barber by day and a preacher by night, he was a revolutionary. Martin Luther King didn’t have two jobs; his job was the liberation of his people. Fred Hampton and Huey P. Newton were panthers from sunrise to sundown.”
God ensured that these men had homes, food on their tables and transport because they were dedicated to the upliftment of their people, Student Minister Hilary added, encouraging leaders to do the same.
With each year seeming to pass more quickly than the previous one, the Nation of Islam student minister made it clear that the time for only talking has passed. “How can we claim to be standing for the liberation of Black people and be unable to pass on one building, one successful business or one acre of land to our children?” he asked. “We can’t continue as we are, we’ve got to have some land that we can show our children and say this belongs to you, not because the Nation did it but because all the organizations came together and saw the bigger picture.”
The transatlantic slave trade was also discussed with Student Minister Muhammad explaining that slave owners rather than slaves were compensated after the abolition of slavery. As reported by the Independent newspaper earlier this year, the British Government paid out £20m ($32.82 million) around £16.5bn ($22.5 billion) in today’s money, to compensate an estimated 3,000 families that owned slaves for loss of their “property” when slavery was abolished in British colonies in 1833.
With national elections taking place in 2015, Mr. Muhammad said now would be a great time to challenge this longstanding injustice in court. “Let every one of us join together and set a date for 20,000 of us to go to Downing Street to submit a petition for reparations to be discussed in Parliament,” he said. “Let’s do that as a worthy goal for 2014, we can’t meet for the sake of meeting anymore.”
Abdul Haqq, office manager of the Shariah Council, an Islamic consultancy, was among the guests and said the event laid a strong foundation for the community to start working together. “It was incredible how easy it was to talk to brothers and sisters I’d never met regardless of their religious orientation or their political beliefs and exchange ideas,” he said. “The minister (Hilary Muhammad) was on fire and he’s right, we’re in a state of crisis and we have to work and plan together.”
Lee-Haliday Davis, an experienced criminal defense attorney and television producer, said, “It was a joy to be able to sit with others of different ideologies and religions and concentrate on the things that bind us rather than our differences. I cannot think of a religion or positive ideology that does not tell us that we our brothers and sisters keeper.”
Lester Holloway, a liberal democrat councilor and radio host agreed it was time for the Black community to unite as other communities throughout the UK have done. “In order to be a successful community we’ve got to do what other successful communities do and they all work together,” he said. “We’ve got to start doing and the Nation of Islam is a great meeting point.”
Hip-hop artist Jaja Soze said such meetings must happen on a regular basis. “The sooner we realize that we are stronger together as a people regardless of religion, politics, etc., the sooner we will be able to achieve great things,” he added.
A follow-up meeting is scheduled to be held in January to begin formulating a Black agenda for 2014 and beyond.