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Annual Summit puts youth in the forefront

By Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad -Final Call Newspaper- | Last updated: Aug 21, 2019 - 8:22:30 AM

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(L) Youth performers during summit, the theme being self-expression. (R) Sondra Muhammad (second from right) with youth and supporters of the annual Youth Summit.

CHICAGO—Hundreds of young people filled the gymnasium of Muhammad University of Islam for the annual Youth Summit. This year’s theme was self-expression.

The event was organized and coordinated by Sondra Muhammad with help from volunteers. She regularly works with youth and spreading the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam, in the streets.

“We try to do youth events every year. We try to give back to the children, do something for the youth,” she told The Final Call. “The 2019 Summit was basically put together so that the children or youth could express themselves and give their thoughts about the different things that’s happening in the world today.”

Youth Student Minister Tariq Muhammad opened the full-day summit with energy he said was derived from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s words on the current generation. “Sister Sondra wanted me to share words with the youth and she told me, specifically, the objective of me sharing my words to the youth was to make them feel important, make them feel valuable, make them feel like this is about them,” he stated.

“The only way I could do that was really just based off of what the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said. He said that this generation of young people are the greatest generation our parents have ever produced. That stuck out to me when he said it and I know it’s going to stick out to my peers and those young people and it did, and it showed.”

Students, student leaders and area youth attended and expressed themselves during the youth gathering.
Participants at the July 24 event also enjoyed free food, music by a DJ, talent showcases and a panel discussion about critical issues affecting their communities. Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, national assistant to Min. Farrakhan, also addressed the youth with encouraging words.

“Knowledge is power, and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that knowledge is a force or energy rather made to break through barriers, to overcome obstacles, overcome resistance,” Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad said. “It is knowledge that really gives us peace. The less knowledge you have, the more ignorant you are, the more emotional, the more irrational, the more convicted we are because the absence of knowledge creates frustration.” He went on to encourage the youth to pursue their goals in life.

“Young brother and sister, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us that there are three tests that prove our worthiness to survive. Each of you were born to succeed, each of you are born winners. Don’t let nobody put you down and tell you ‘you ain’t nothing!’ Don’t let nobody tell you ‘you can’t!’” he said.

“Take that out of your vocabulary because when the God created the heavens and the earth, and replaced darkness with light, He destroyed the impossible so there is nothing impossible, but when you set your mind to do whatever your mind brings up as an idea, as a vision, know that you can fulfill that desire and realize your dream,” said Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad.

His words were followed by a panel discussion that included talented youth who are also active in their communities in addressing critical issues. Panelist Bahiyyah Muhammad, a 16-year-old student at Muhammad University, said she was honored to speak and exchange ideas with the other youth.

“I just loved the energy that happened around me, the Teachings were implemented in our discussion, so we were going back and forth and saying some of the common topics,” Bahiyyah Muhammad stated. “It was very light, there wasn’t any heaviness so when I was around, the energy was good. It was really good vibes.”

“I thought this was a very necessary event,” Amatallah Muhammad, 17, and moderator of the panel discussion, told The Final Call. “We had our own youth from the Nation of Islam present, we had a lot of youth from the community, a lot of their parents as well. A lot of different communities and organizations were present, so it was really good to see us all come together for the sake of us.”

Participants told The Final Call that the Youth Summit should continue and extend to other cities. “I took a lot from the youth summit, I hope the younger people took from this summit—because in my community there’s a ton of young people and we don’t have it,” said Elben Pickens, a youth leader at Olive-Harvey College. “I came to show that we really need help and it’s not hard to ask for it.”

Levinia X helped Sondra Muhammad invite area youth to the summit. She said the passion she has for her people is what encourages her to help. “What inspired me is the resurrection of the dead and the love I have in my heart for my people. Allah delivered me through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, so I want the same for my brothers and sisters,” she said.

Twenty-seven-year-old Jasmine Richmond, president of African American Student Association at Olive Harvey College, said the summit was good in that it highlighted the importance of image and respect. “I feel especially for the high school students because they don’t realize there’s actually a problem and that to respect yourself and to love yourself is a problem in the community, and they don’t see themselves as equals,” she told The Final Call.

Tynetta Abdullah Muhammad, 23, a student at University of Illinois Chicago and community organizer of the Black Student Union, said the summit gave her an idea of what the youth in Black communities coming together looks like.

“I took from the Youth Summit what I usually take from any meeting as a member of the Nation of Islam and that’s dismantling White supremacy and racism, as well as defeating the sexism and the ideas of a misogynist wall that exists within our communities; erasing and dismantling ideals of White supremacy that saturate our entire being in terms of how we look at each other and how we interact with our space and environment,” she said.

“I hope that we have more summits like this where we can talk and have more dialogue about the dismantling of White supremacy and racism of this world.”

Sondra Muhammad thanked all those involved and who supported the Youth Summit.