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Young men from across the city participated in the 2nd Annual Let Us Make Man: Boys To Men conference at Mosque Maryam in Chicago. Minister Farrakhan delivered the keynote address. Photos: Abdul Muhammad
The Nation of Islam headquarters sanctuary hosted hundreds of young males and some adults who received a special message about manhood, power, health, diet, music and culture, education, peacemaking, proper growth and development and unity delivered by presenters and in a keynote address by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

CHICAGO–The only way you can show your connection to Allah (God) and power is through your growth in knowledge and wisdom, the Honorable Min. Louis Farrakhan told some 500 mostly Black males, teens ages 13-18, gathered at Mosque Maryam. But how can you be connected to God while you are covered in the veil of ignorance? he asked.

The men had answered the call of scholar, activist and Student Minister Shahid “Math Doctor” Muhammad for the 2nd Annual Boys to Men conference. With the theme “Let Us Make Man,” the goal of the April 30 event was to educate and inspire boys to realize they have purpose in their lives and that greatness is their future–if they recognize that purpose and channel their energy into fulfilling it.

The teens came from across the city, recognizing that Mosque Maryam is a neutral ground where all young men are given respect and gang divisions are not recognized on this sacred ground. Some filed in individually, some in ranks and some came with their mother or father.

(L) Youngsters take selfi e with Min. Farrakhan at end of an inspirational and historic day. (R) Student Minister Shahid Muhammad, who organized the conference, with Min. Farrakhan. Photos: Haroon Rajaee

The four-hour educational boot camp, highlighted by the Minister’s message, offered information on such topics as the importance of healthy food and a proper diet, self-defense, conscious hip hop music, developing healthy relationships and knowledge of self. Lunch was served after the conference and the young men were exposed to vendors offering such services as job training and expungement.Explaining the male training protocol of the Nation of Islam, Min. Farrakhan said the enemy exploits the differences among young Black men and sows seeds of dissension to create conflict. In addition, Whites and other ethnic groups depress the Black community by sucking financial resources out in order to build up their own communities.

Young Black men must become protectors of the community, he said.

“You are born warriors, but you have to know how to fight to win. Our training is to make us brothers so you don’t end up fighting your brother. Our training is to make us learn to love each other,” he said.

The White man must keep the Black man down in order to stay in power, the Minister continued. He maintains control by spewing lies through his educational system and the media, added Min. Farrakhan.

Illustrating his point, the 82-year-old leader referred to the historical television series “Roots,” based on research by the late Alex Haley who traced his genealogy to the African nation Gambia. Black people were never told that their forefathers were Muslims, but the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his student Malcolm X shared that revelation for years. After his genealogy search was complete, Alex Haley wrote Min. Farrakhan admitting that Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X were correct, that most of slaves were in fact Muslims.

Similarly, the great actor William Marshall once confided that he wanted to make a movie about the Haitian generals who defeated the army of French general Napoleon Bonaparte, considered the most powerful army of that time.

Jewish producers in Hollywood wouldn’t even look at the script, the actor said, according to Min. Farrakhan.

The White man will never tell you of your great religion and history, he told the crowd. For 300 years, Whites didn’t allow Blacks to read books or go to church. When they did, they made Blacks feel inferior, Min. Farrakhan said.

“Our people got so angry and dehumanized that they left the White church and formed the African Methodist Episcopal church. They formed the Baptist church, but they weren’t 1st Baptist, they were 2nd Baptist,” he explained.

A boy cannot become a man until he is able to produce for himself, Min. Farrakhan said, adding that the first job God gave to Adam was to till the land, meaning to farm and be an expert in agriculture. But students in Black agricultural colleges do not want to farm because of the bad experience of slavery and share cropping, he said.

(Top) Min. Farrakhan introduces, from left, Mustapha Farrakhan, Ishmael Muhammad, Abel Muhammad and Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad. These are men who will share knowledge with you, the Minister told the young men in the audience. Most of the conference participants were teenagers. (L-R) Celeritus Muhammad demonstrates martial arts technique. Photo: Abdul Muhammad | Young warriors from Lion’s Paw Martial Arts and Chess Academy. Photo: Haroon Rajaee | Justice Born, 12, emceed the program and showed off fighting technique. Photo: Abdul Muhammad

If the gang factions understood that to become a man means to become a producer and that land is the basis for that production, then the Bloods, the Crips, the Gangster Disciples could buy up the vacant lots in their communities, develop community gardens and take the product to market and sell it to their own people allowing the money to circulate in the community, he said.The Minister described the violence occurring among so-called gangs as part of that conspiracy to destroy Black boys. The enemy knows he has programmed Black youth to hate each other, so he’s comfortable bringing guns into the Black community, Min. Farrakhan said.

The enemy keeps the American public distracted by promoting sex and songs with filthy lyrics all day long, he warned the parents in the audience. If the baby sees and hears similar language coming from the parent, the baby emulates the parent, said the Minister.

“What you see, what you hear creates your mind. If [the enemy] can create your mind based on filth and degenerate thought and behavior, he can control your destiny just by controlling what feeds your mind,” he explained. “But with the right environment, you can learn faster and better.”

Min. Farrakhan thanked the mothers in the audience for being present and told the young men every day should be mother’s day, not just one day created to stimulate unnecessary spending.“There is no great man that didn’t come from a woman,” he continued, “but the enemy takes what we love and capitalizes on the natural love of a human being for our mothers.

“Take that day and every day to honor your mother. Don’t ask for a gift on your birthday. She almost died to bring you here. So on your birthday give her something and say thank you.”

“The Hon. Elijah Muhammad said the pain of birth is equal to the pain of death,” Min. Farrakhan said. “Every time mom has a baby she dies a little to give life. So every woman is worthy of respect.”

Single mom Tyronda Hunt brought her 14-year-old son because of the Minister’s reputation as a speaker on behalf of Black people. She was impressed by the atmosphere at the mosque, and wished the message could be spread further.

“This is something that doesn’t just need to be in The Final Call, it needs to be in the mainstream media,” she said. “Here’s a good example of Blacks doing positive things and not how the media portrays us. A lot of the young boys didn’t have parents here. They could have snuck off but they remained.”

“The program made me think differently about the decisions I should make in my future and how Black young men should work together to help our communities,” said Tyronda’s son Amari Bates, 14. “I learned that young boys should show more love for your mother and we can’t let the White man take control of us. We should set our own future.”

Oscar Martinez, 17, said he appreciated the emphasis of Black and Latino unity and that young men from each community should work together. He was also impacted by the emphasis on the woman and respect for mother.

“Louis Farrakhan’s words really stuck with me. There was a huge emphasis on the protection of women and the treatment of our mothers. That’s definitely something I want to work on. I can better myself in showing my mother more respect,” he said.

As he prepared to depart he offered one last observation.

“I walked in today and the people treated me with respect. They didn’t know me but they treated me with respect. If people were to do that more, in general, we could easily improve our world,” he said.