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Activated by faith, fearlessness and motivated by love

By J.S. Adams, Contributing Writer | Last updated: Nov 1, 2019 - 9:32:15 AM

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Christina Muhammad (right) along with other members of the 10,000 Fearless and officials.

For Christina Muhammad, the devastation Hurricane Katrina left behind in New Orleans was a wakeup call. “I was hurt with seeing all the death tolls and people stranded on rooftops,” she said of the devastating Category 5 storm that struck 14 years ago. “I remember vowing from then that we never wanted to see that happen again, but we would have to take accountability.”

From there, she began training in search and rescue, and in community emergency response teams. But she didn’t stop there. Christina Muhammad went around Texas, then the whole country, to set up disaster response teams. Now, she serves as national coordinator of the 10,000 Fearless Emergency Response Team, based in Austin, Texas.

Hurricane Dorian flattened many of the homes and structures in the Bahamas.

The Emergency Response team is making moves throughout the country, but with recent weather-related disasters striking Texas, they’ve been in full effect. With their own fire truck and bus that fits 77 people, the team has been in and out of affected areas lending a helping hand.

On behalf of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, these certified and trained teams branch out to assist those who need it most.

Dallas response team on the rise

Many people in Dallas know about the work of the 10,000 Fearless within the city. The 10,000 Fearless was established by Min. Farrakhan, with the goal of inspiring men and women to go into Black and oppressed communities and make them cleaner, safer and more decent places to live.

The team in Dallas is active in several areas. From conducting health fairs, to speaking at schools and working with the homeless, they’re neck-deep in the community, working to make a change for the better. Efforts in Dallas are inclusive of people and groups from the community, like the Brown Berets—a Chicano organization—and Black Panther organizations and others.

One of the main aspects they focus on is making sure both young and old are prepared for when a disaster strikes.

“We go into the actual schools here in Dallas and teach the children how to deal with tornadoes, how to be able to deal with a disaster, how when communication goes down, you can’t call mommy and daddy, how to be able to purify water, how to evacuate a building on fire,” said Danielle X. She serves as the Dallas point of contact for the 10,000 Fearless Emergency Responders. She’s worked with the team for over five years, since it was established. She’s also over logistics for the national team as well. Doing this kind of work is a means of accountability and taking back Black communities, she said.

She received training in several areas and knows how to operate a HAM radio, is CPR certified and has received Community Emergency Response Training (CERT), which includes search and rescue, fire suppression, proper communication and the ability to evaluate a disaster. Danielle X is also trained in martial arts and can respond in an active shooter situation.

(L) Members of the 10,000 Fearless Emergency Responders feeding those less fortunate and building relationships with the Dallas Police Department. (R) Members of the 10,000 Fearless standing with a brother from the Bahamas.

Her training has helped her better assist in disasters. Tropical Storm Imelda bombarded parts of Texas on September 16, dumping more than 50 inches of rain on the greater Houston and Beaumont areas. More than 1,000 people had to be rescued from rising flood waters.

In Dallas the team’s efforts included collecting 225 cases of water in a matter of four days and taking it to Beaumont and Houston to drop off, explained Danielle X. The storm was heavy and the team formulated ways to help and provide water and sanitizing products for those affected.

She said it’s reminiscent of when Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017, devastating Houston.

“Harvey was a very big storm,” she said. “The team went down to Houston and went street by street, house by house knocking on doors, passing out water, passing out cleaning supplies because the people were living in these homes with mold, flooded with water up to their ankles in their homes,” said Danielle X.

“You could smell the dead rats in the homes, you could smell the dead bodies in the neighborhood. The mold was so bad that one of our team member’s throat almost closed up and that was a wakening call for all of us to make sure we protect ourselves before we try to go out there to help others.”

Establishing the team wasn’t an easy task. Danielle X explained the first thing that’s needed to establish a team is to start getting trained.

“You want to get trained in Community Emergency Response Training in your city, and you want to build a team of people who have the desire of helping, not to be seen amongst men, not to be known with the good, cute little hoodies on or whatever, but you have to find people who really want to work,” she said. “This stuff is not easy. You’re sacrificing time from your family, from yourself, from the mosque to be able to go and make these things happen.”

Another necessary step towards building a team is to establish good relationships with your local police department, fire rescue and community organizations.

“You want to network with everyone because you can’t do it by yourself,” she said. “The Nation is growing in this area, but we’re starting from the ground up. So you want to go in your particular city and you want to network and you want to build friends in all walks of life to help your team establish itself financially, supplies-wise, and physical helpers—volunteers to help you make these things happen.”

Student Minister Al Shaheed Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 48 in Dallas said the work of the 10,000 Fearless has had an impact on the mosque.

“The culture of the mosque is everybody is working. No one is sitting around. With the work they’re doing in the 10,000 Fearless, it basically merges in with the climate we’re pushing there in Muhammad Mosque No. 48,” he explained.

“The effect on the community is a little bit different because now they come to the mosque more,” he continued. “There are resources there, because we give out things for the homeless ... it’s a very uplifting time for us right now.”

He said whenever Danielle X and her staff need something, the mosque is willing to assist.

“I thank the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for his guidance because when we go into the community, people are looking for him,” said Danielle X. “When we do our work, we always say this is a gift from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan because if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be doing what we doing, right?”

Aid in the Bahamas

The 10,000 Fearless Emergency Response Team made their efforts global. Christina Muhammad returned to the United States recently after spending seven days in the Bahamas, following Hurricane Dorian.

“We trained a team actually that was already down there and what happened, we got a call asking if we can bring a team down to actually help assist,” she said. “So, I went down there, I got a couple people down there, we went down to kind of see what was needed.”

The Category 5 storm struck the Abaco Islands in September. The team focused on smaller islands around Abaco that needed help. They distributed food, helped build homes, conducted search and rescue and trainings.

“We actually stayed on that island for seven days, so we got a chance to experience not having any water, not having any power. It kind of built more of an empathy for our people,” Ms. Muhammad said.

In one of the communities they worked in, most of the homes didn’t have roofs but blue tarps over them instead. Residents told Ms. Muhammad it had been like this since 2016, when they were hit by another storm. “They kind of were dealing with disaster times two. It was horrible,” she said.

Even with all the adversity they were facing, locals were very loving towards the team. “We started going into people’s homes and one of the ladies, I really fell in love with her ...she was really sweet,” Ms. Muhammad said. “We’re trying to be there to help the people and she’s, you know, ‘thank you, thank you for being here and they’re trying to make sure we’re comfortable, giving us food, and ... I thought that was really nice.”

When they went into that woman’s home, she had bare power lines hanging from her ceiling.

“At that particular time, they were trying to restore power, so we were like ‘sis, how long has it been like this?’ ” Ms. Muhammad said.

“She’s been living like this for years and dealing with the water coming in and it was raining. We told her you have to get out of this house because as soon as the power is restored and you got power and water, and you don’t have a roof on your home, you just have a blue tarp ... water and electricity don’t mix.”

They also worked with many Hispanic men who connected themselves to their team.

“They found out I was search and rescue certified and they came to me. One Hispanic brother, he was in his 70s, and he came to me like ‘As-Salaam Alaikum,’ ” said Ms. Muhammad, repeating the Islamic greeting that means “Peace Be Unto You.”

“The whole entire trip was so divine because he was like this is my brother, my sister, my Islam brother and sister. Everyone stayed in one location. Every day it was like we were going out to do a mission. You saw the Black and Brown join forces. Everything we did, we did it together.”

They adopted the community they worked in because of the love and care they felt, she continued.

“We asked [a] lady, what’s the name of your community? And she said it—it was really cute—she said it’s called Lewis Yard and I said excuse me?” Ms. Muhammad said. “I said, I knew the energy was strong. I said it’s Lewis Yard? I said I knew I felt the spirit of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan there.”

Everywhere they went, they let the people know who they were there on behalf of and representing. “Everything that we were doing, we were really thankful to Allah to be there,” said Ms. Muhammad. “We were saying the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan wanted us to let you know that he loves you.”

She said the people were asking for the Minister to come to the Bahamas. People were stating, “The Nation is here and we’re so thankful and we want Farrakhan, where’s Farrakhan?” continued Ms. Muhammad.

“One of the locals we were talking to, he went and found a hotel and said, ‘Do you think [we can get] 10,000 people [to] fit if Farrakhan comes down here? The Bahamas is waiting for Farrakhan to come back to the Bahamas to help them to get themselves back together, get their minds together and to rebuild,’” she said.

The work continues

In July, during the NOI’s National Training Seminar, Ms. Muhammad and members of her team presented Min. Farrakhan with a proclamation they received after working in Louisiana. They’d done large relief efforts in the cities of Baton Rouge and Homer, and also established a 10,000 Fearless First Responder Community Center. The center aims to train residents on how to properly respond to a disaster. The mayor of Homer gave the team the proclamation. In turn, the team wanted to present their proclamation to Min. Farrakhan as an honor.

“I say, none of us would have any of this information, the knowledge or the know how or the will to even go in. For me to even get certified to be anyone’s instructor, I wouldn’t have done that if it hadn’t of been for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Everything that we get, we wanted to give in his name to thank him, to show our appreciation.”

As she spoke to the Minister, Ms. Muhammad’s voice was filled with gratitude, and a smile came upon his face. Still, there’s plenty more work to be done.

Ms. Muhammad will continue working in the Bahamas and Texas. She recently visited Houston to help with storm relief and will send supplies to the Bahamas with Carnival Cruise-Lines. She also desires to raise money to help restore communication lines within parts of the Bahamas.

Danielle X will join the team working in the Bahamas, but in the meantime, she and her team are working in the Houston area.

“The team was activated by faith,” said Ms. Muhammad. “Because here we know that the fall of America is coming. Here we know that bad weather and disasters are coming ... it’s falling. The Minister said judgment is now,” she continued.

“You have a team that is activated by faith and faith alone because we believe in what the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is teaching.”