Originally published 4.6.09
by Guest Blogger Robert Muhammad
Originally published 3.30.09
Written by Jesse Muhammad
The afternoon on Sunday (March 29) in New Orleans was non-stop as well. I along with others went over to the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd for the screening of the I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak short film produced by Stacey Muhammad of Wildseed Films.
The setting at Zeitgeist was filled with two awesome art exhibits. One was titled “Expressions of Nakba”, an international commemoration of the Nakba: the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948.
The other one was titled “Through The Youth Lens”, photos by up-and-coming photojournalists from four News Orleans youth activists organizations: The Fyre Youth Squad, Rethink, Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, and YOUTHanasia.
Then, the packed audience viewed the I Am Sean Bell piece and it received an overwhelming response. Stacey, who is a native of New Orleans, had several members of her family in the audience. “I really appreciate this opportunity and support”, she said.
We then viewed Moral Panic: More Heat Than Light, directed by Akintola Hanif and produced by Richard Greenberg. It is an inside look into the minds of gang members and ex-prisoners in the hope of creating some genuine understanding about the choices made by the filmâ€™s subjects. Received rave reviews as well.
Deep is all I can say and I plan to show both of these films in Houston real soon.
After the screenings, NOLA youth led the Blowout Consciousness Secondline, a street celebration of freedom to stand against the cradle-to-priso
Here are more photo hightlights….let’s be the change.
(Second Line Trumpet player: Photo by Jesse Muhammad)(Martin Luther King Mural: Photo by Jesse Muhammad)
Originally published 3.30.09
Written by Jesse Muhammad
First thing, if you’re in the New Orleans area, I really recommend that you check out the 6th Annual International Human Rights Festival. There is still an entire week of events and they have had an awesome schedule so far! I really enjoyed myself.
Let me tell you about my experience on Sunday morning, March 29. We gathered at the corner of Canal and Poydras to kick off the Free Palestine March & Rally. Though starting off in small numbers, it increased as we marched through the streets! Chants of “Occupation is a Crime!”, “No Justice, No Peace!”, and “Not In Our Names!” resonated throughout the alleys as people came from outside to blow car horns or just watch and observe.
What sparked this rally was the fact that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was having a meeting in the city to lobby for money at the Omni Royal New Orleans hotel. AIPAC is an American lobbying group that advocates for pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the US.
The purpose of this demonstration was also in remembrance of Palestine Land Day, the anniversary of March 30, 1976. On that day a clash between Israeli troops and Palestinians took the lives of six Palestinians.
“We are deeply frustrated by the actions of the Israeli government. Our tax dollars are funding the murder of innocent Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children. Our tax dollars are also funding large-scale illegal evictions and demolitions in Palestine”, said Emily Ratner, co-director of the film festival.
“We are here to say, no more killings. Stop the slaughter of innocent people”, said Jordan Flaherty, who also is co-directing the two week fest.
We marched to the front of the Omni hotel and was surrounded by a lot of law enforcement but that did not detour the energy. I was given the opportunity to speak along with others. Even a Jewish WWII veteran was protesting with us in a wheelchair. Soon our presence caused a few of the AIPAC members to come outside with their own banner.
A message was sent. Like I always say, even if you are against rallies or protests, you have to at least appreciate it when people are doing SOMETHING….we all can do our part, so do yours in your own little or big way for what you believe in.
More To Come from New Orleans.
Originally published 3.28.09
Written by Jesse Muhammad
New Orleans is standing up!
I arrived into the city Friday (March 27) and went straight to the venue from the airport for the Liberation Hip-Hop Concert at Cafe Lazziza. The sounds of liberation came from New Orleans, Detroit, Brooklyn and even Gaza. Yes an artist flew in from Gaza to perform! The concert featured the legendary Wise Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers), Invincible, Mohammad Al-Farra, Sabreena da Witch, Truth Universal, and Dee-1.
I was invited to be the featured speaker so I had the opportunity to share some empowering words with the audience. Thank you to the festival directors Emily Ratner and Jordan Flaherty for the invite. I met a lot of great people and got invited to speak at some other places across the country.
On Saturday, March 28, I attended the ‘Yes We Care’ Stop the Killing Rally at Armstrong Park. It was spearheaded by Rev. John Raphael of New Hope Church, who is tired of the unceasing Black on Black violence–so he decided to put this in motion to forge change.
“We have to show these young boys that somebody cares”, he told me in an interview.
Story after story was told by paining mothers, grandmothers, fathers and children who have lost loved ones (most young Black boys) to senseless violence. Tears flowed from their eyes as they pleaded for an end to the murders.
Mayor Ray Nagin made a guest appearance and asked the question, “Where is the Black love? We have to get back to caring about our neighbor and looking out for one another.”
Nation of Islam Student Minister Willie Muhammad challenged all men in the crowd to take a stance by joining him and others every Saturday for one hour to “go into the projects and talk to our people. We are going to work like hell to make sure stories like these today come to an end”, he said.
There was also a performance by seven unified local school bands, who put aside rivalries to make one sound. That was the essence of today’s event…putting labels to the side to unite under a common cause.
Look for more coverage on this event in an upcoming edition of The Final Call Newspaper. More photo highlights below.
Originally published 3.4.09
Rosemont, ILâ€”â€œI think one of the problems with us as young people is that we tend to have good ideas but there is no persistence on our part to execute them so the idea isnâ€™t taken seriouslyâ€, said Akilah Muhammad, a freshman at Howard University.
Sister Akilah served as a facilitator for one of the many workshops that provided young people forums to dialogue, strategize, analyze and even debate on the necessary elements needed for this wing of the Nation of Islam to accept their responsibility.
In this particular roundtable on February 28, titled Tell God That Excuse, the goal was to see what is impeding the progress of young people in and outside their immediate circles. â€œOur attitude plays a part in it as wellâ€, said Sister Akilah.
Imani Muhammad of Portland, Oregon asked if there was anyone in the room who brought an idea to adults only to see that idea crushed or ignored. The majority of those in attendance raised their hands.
Marquis Muhammad of Los Angeles then shifted the conversation to the importance of youth following the Restrictive Laws of Islam. â€œI know it is a challenge but obedience to those laws is what gives us powerâ€, he offered.
What about parents? Hasaun Muhammad of New York delved into how to make progress when one feel parents and adults donâ€™t understand. â€œThere are roadblocks at times and there is a breakdown in the communication between youth and parentsâ€, he said.
A Wise Man Learns from Other Peopleâ€™s Mistakes
A late afternoon session facilitated by Khadijah Baha of Houston was full of questions and answers with a panel that included Nuri Muhammad (Indianapolis), David Muhammad (Milwaukee), and Tulinagwe Muhammad (Baltimore).
â€œWe can not continue to repeat the mistakes of those before us and continue to make excusesâ€, said Sister Khadijah.
One of the questions posed was how a person can separate themselves from people whom they may love yet that person does not want to do right.
â€œMinister Farrakhan teaches that environment is stronger than heredity. So if you canâ€™t be strong in the environment, you have to remove yourself from it until you have the power to change it and not let it change youâ€, suggested Brother Nuri.
(Read more coverage in an upcoming edition of The Final Call Newspaper)
Written By Jesse Muhammad
Originally published 9.26.08
Ok, if you have been following my speaking tour tab in the left column of this blog, you know I am in Oakland as a guest speaker for the Critical Resistance Conference..if you didn’t notice, it’s okay because I know it’s easy to get caught up in all of the pictures and graphic designs!(smile)
But I arrived this afternoon and changing time zones is no JOKE! But the conference has kicked off with a wealth of information in about ten workshops. I also ran into some people from Houston, whom I have worked with for years in the community including Sister Krystal of the New Black Panther Party and Gloria Ruebec, who has been fighting for decades to have the death penalty abolished in the state of Texas! These are two women warrior and feminine freedom fighters!
I took a break to walk the streets of downtown Oakland and meet people. Believe it or not I have seen numerous people with curls and boom boxes in hand! Straight out of the movie “Boyz in The Hood”. You know I got pictures to prove it but I will not put my brothers out there on the world wide web like that.(smile)
I of course found a Starbucks to post up at and start blogging. Now I am about to go to the Opening Plenary that will feature the legendary Angela Davis. More updates coming and check out the website at www.criticalresistance.org
More to come on Brother Jesse’s Oakland experience!
(Oh yeah, thank you to the kind Starbucks worker who took this pick of me shown in this blog.)