(The following op-ed is by Student Minister Willie Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans, Louisiana)
From what I know of Kevin Powell, from following his career over the years I believe he is a genuine brother who really has a concern for the Black community. However, I disagree with his opinion expressed in his article titled, “Is Black Leadership DEAD?” in the October issue of Ebony.
I am not of those who believe that Black leadership is dead and one of the major reasons why I do not feel this way is because of the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. For over 50 years the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has given his all even at the expense of his family and health to better the condition of Black people here in America and those around the world.
Over the years the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has put forward national agendas with solutions addressing many of the ills that Black America is currently still suffering from despite there being a Black president in the Oval Office. It was the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who traveled all throughout America drawing attention to the plight of Black males and this senseless gun violence that is claiming the lives of young men today. How many has he helped to prevent from being part of those statistics? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has also made several attempts to unite Black leaders and organizations; encouraging them to come together in a collective manner to help chart a future for our people.
At the Historic Million Man March the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan proposed the development of an economic fund, part of which would be used to help free up Black organizations from others who use their philanthropy as a means to control these organizations, which has been one of the greatest hindrances to Black leadership. In nearly every lecture the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivers he proposes visionary ideas that Black leadership can come together and create national and local agendas out of. I have witnessed the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan throw his support (physically and financially) and influence behind the agendas and movements of others. This shows he is not moved by a desire to be in the limelight, but rather a deep love to see our people in a better condition. It’s a shame that some in America over look his leadership, when world leaders outside of America see the value in the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. I can go on an on, but the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s history and leadership speaks for itself.
What needs to be placed in the dead category is the envy, jealousy, pride, cowardice and arrogance that exists among Black leadership and Black organizations that hinders a unified effort. Which has also hindered them from walking with the Minister. What also needs to be placed in the dead category is this arrogance amongst the younger generation of potential leaders. This arrogance is what prevents them from seeking the counsel of those elders who have been fighting this battle before many of us were even born. As a people we have a romanticism with leaders who are no longer here. Yet, we fail to support those who are in our midst right now in a meaningful way.
As a people we are really sick. We criticize, critique and find fault in those on the front line before we offer to them our expertise, skills, knowledge and support free of doubt and suspicion. I searched the internet looking for articles where members of other ethnic groups have declared that their leadership is dead and I could not find one, but when it comes to us, we find numerous articles written mainly by us expressing these sentiments. When are we as a people going to stop tearing down our own leadership? When will we as a people acknowledge that we have failed to fully commit ourselves to any agendas that have been put before us by Black leaders of the past and the present? As a result we have added to our own suffering today. As a people we have had leaders who if they were born in other societies and during other time periods, they would have been regarded as prophets and written in the history books next to some of the great freedom fighters.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is here and is continuing the fight that many in the past stood for. Lets not overlook this valuable human being in our midst who is a leader and much more.