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On a mission for the people

By Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad -Final Call Newspaper- | Last updated: Dec 4, 2019 - 11:04:31 AM

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Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad is on a mission for the people, by the people. After claiming victory with 54 percent of the vote against City Commissioner Ron Singleton in November’s election, he plans to run the Michigan city for a second term with the same integrity as he did the first.

(Center) Marcus Muhammad, his wife Abisayo, and daughter Qiyamah, friends and supporters celebrate his winning reelection as mayor of Benton Harbor.

Benton Harbor is situated southwest of Kalamazoo, and northwest of South Bend, Indiana, and has a population of 9,826 people, 84 percent of whom are Black. Among its recent and ongoing challenges is maintaining educational institutions.

Benton Harbor High School which is 94 percent Black was at risk of being shut down by city officials due to financial instability early this year. However, Mayor Muhammad and supporters stepped in.

“We rallied the community to say ‘hands-off’ and we had a huge press conference in front of the governor’s office which we eventually met with her,” Mr. Muhammad told The Final Call. “That was a major factor as well that people saw their mayor fighting not only for the pillar of the community which is the high school but for the future,” he said.

The high school is being revived under the leadership of new principal Reedell Holmes, the Benton Harbor Area Schools Community Engagement and Advisory Committee, officials from the district and the state’s Department of Education.

Mayor Muhammad’s upcoming plans for the city includes fixing streets and neighborhoods, addressing issues with trash pickup by Wecycle Industrial Sanitation and continuing to improve schools.

Prior to this year’s Nov. 5 reelection, Mr. Muhammad was first elected mayor in 2016 after defeating then-incumbent mayor James Hightower. His background includes assisting at Muhammad University of Islam and in the editorial department at The Final Call newspaper. Both are Chicago-based institutions.

It led him to being politically involved for over a decade as he worked his way from city council to mayor of Benton Harbor. A native of Benton Harbor and well known throughout the community as a legendary high school athlete, Mr. Muhammad was elected as a Commissioner-at-Large in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. He also served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2010 to 2012. He has also served as a basketball coach at Benton Harbor High School.

He credits his Nation of Islam training for his developing and cultivating the skills necessary for being a professional in the workplace.

“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan told me to go after the people, bury yourself in the people. Not if but when the opposition attacks, the people will come out for you, and that they did,” he continued.

Mr. Muhammad says his plan for this term is to continue maintaining and improving city educational institutions and serving Benton Harbor residents as best he can.

Follow Marcus Muhammad on Facebook @MarcusMuhammad4Mayor and @marcus4polytics on Twitter.