ATLANTA—Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad and Rev. Timothy McDonald were honored by Concerned Black Clergy for their work in the neighborhood known as The Bluff through the work of the 10,000 Fearless.
The Bluff, which sits in the shadow of a new major sports stadium and a short distance from the gleaming structures of the city known as the Black Mecca, suffers from problems of blight, crime and drugs that might be associated with older cities in the North and the Midwest. Its challenges include a reputation and reality of being home to an incredible problem of heroin addiction.
The 10,000 Fearless headquarters of the South is located in The Bluff and represents the first and perhaps most developed effort to create and mobilize a group committed to ending violence and making Black neighborhoods decent places to live. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has called for 10,000 Fearless men and women willing to stand between the guns and the violence that ravage Black communities and to act as on-the-ground agents of change. He made the call the during organizing for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March and at the Justice Or Else! gathering in Washington, D.C. last October. The event drew an estimated 850,000 to 1.1 million people despite no support from major, national Black civil rights groups and no media support or corporate sponsors.
The small, one story home in The Bluff where the realization of the Minister’s vision originated is a beehive of activity and innovation. From improving and painting the home and those on either side and beautifying the area to conflict resolution, medical screening and free food services to serving as a refuge for those seeking some kind of relief or counsel, the 10,000 Fearless home has begun to ease the pain of a suffering people. There are other activities and partnerships as well—such as Home Depot playing a role in donating supplies and helping to restore the headquarters.
The biggest problem may be the need and services are quickly outgrowing the well-used space in the heart of a community in need of healing and development.
The joint Muslim-Christian effort also illustrates the breadth of cooperation and unity envisioned by the Minister and needed to move Black America forward.
The award, which sits in the 10,000 Fearless headquarters, was the highest Concerned Black Clergy could bestow. It was presented June 17 during the group’s Annual Salute to Black Fathers Awards Dinner at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel. The evening’s theme was “Salute to Black Fathers: Fathers in the Good Fight of Faith” and coincided with Father’s Day celebrations.
Rev. McDonald and others recited Concerned Black Clergy’s history in protecting the Black right to vote, fighting for jobs and standing against those who stand against Black interests. Rev. McDonald is the pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church.
Vice Mayor Joe Carn from College Park, Ga., spoke of how the group made him feel secure as a youngster when the city was wracked by the murders and disappearances of Black boys in the 1980s.
Pastor Derrick Rice noted that 1,600 people are fed a month from the 10,000 Fearless headquarters. He also told The Final Call that this year’s dinner came together quickly which prevented the group from offering an invitation to Min. Farrakhan to speak. But, he added, the hope is this work lays a foundation for doing something significant when the Nation of Islam holds its annual Holy Day of Atonement gathering in Atlanta in October.
Mr. Sharrieff Muhammad, who also serves as the Southern Region student minister for Min. Farrakhan, was described as a brother, a friend who would not back down from anyone.
He accepted the Bishop Cornelius Presidential Award, the highest award the organization gives, on behalf of Min. Farrakhan and the Nation and stressed the need for the Black community to unite to deal with serious problems.
Rev. McDonald said the joint award was proof Muslims and Christians can work together. Rev. McDonald is the chair of the Justice Or Else! Local Organizing Committee and Student Minister Sharrieff Muhammad is the co-chair.
Among other awardees were Atty. Mawuli Davis, entrepreneurs Antwon Davis and Eldredge Washington, David Manuel, Chief Greg Porter of Clayton County, Afemo Omilani, Coach Darrell Walker, Rev. Joseph Wheeler and the Rev. Dr. Rudolph Smith.
The awardees were honored for work to improve, serve and protect Black lives whether in the fields of economics, law enforcement, politics, youth development, voting and civil rights, feeding the homeless and social justice or spiritual leadership and guidance.
Other honorees included:
· Community Church of God—Clement James, Man of the Year and Gregory Joubert, Young Man of the Year.
· First Iconium Baptist Church—Charles R. Butts, Man of the Year; Kino A. Lewis, Young Man of the Year; Deacon Edward V. Bonner, Overcoming Man of the Year.
· Mt. Welcome Missionary Baptist Church—Reginald Love, Man of the Year; Cameron Smith, Young Man of the Year; Fletcher Salter, Overcoming Man of the Year.
· Sankofa United Church of Christ—John Moran, Man of the Year; Justin Moxey, Young Man of the Year; Shaka Barrett, Overcoming Man of the Year.
· Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church—Deacon Melvin Sneed, Man of the Year; Olajuwon Gardy, Young Man of the Year.
· Muhammad Mosque No. 15—Louis Muhammad, Man of the Year; Rashad Muhammad, Young Man of the Year; Barry Muhammad, Overcoming Man of the Year.
All of the awards for the Man of the Year, Young Man of the Year and Overcoming Man of the Year were presented by Black women. Actress and motivational speaker Nevaine Rhodes was the mistress of ceremonies. Judge Penny Brown Reynolds delivered the keynote address. She urged the honorees and the Black community to continue to stand against assaults—whether from outside and divisive political figures or other foes. “Men and fathers it is time to stand up,” said the legal expert, social justice advocate and media personality.
America is already great because Black people built the country and made it great, she said, in an oblique reference to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s charged rhetoric.
Make America great again are code words for turning back the clock on Black progress, she said. When evil is not opposed it grows, she warned the audience, calling for Black America to be active and vigilant on its own behalf. But like the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, in the Bible, we will not be burnt up because God is with us, she said.