CHICAGO–Earlier this year, the Nation of Islam (NOI), in cooperation with the progressive business community, hosted a “Tribute of Thanks” at the Gallery Guichard in Chicago to support Saviours’ Day and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Nearly 100 business professionals and entrepreneurs attended the event, wanting to show their appreciation for the Minister and his 62 years of dedicated service to his people–42 of them in the absence of his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Student National Assistant Minister Ishmael Muhammad, Brother Kurt X of The Elite 50 Plus squad and event planner Pam Blackman organized the event, with great assistance from Callahan Funeral Home.
Min. Muhammad, who was the keynote speaker and defined the purpose of the event, initially commissioned Kurt X to bring the event together. With limited time and resources to make it happen, the event was still a success.
“The occasion gave the Nation a great opportunity to host an event at such a distinguished Black-owned art gallery in the historic Bronzeville community. It was a black-tie event and there were plenty of Black people with ties,” Kurt X said jokingly.
Noting the significance of the event, Barney Muhammad expressed to Ishmael Muhammad that it took place directly across the street from what once housed the 47th Street Business Association headquarters. That facility was made available by the late NOI member Al Saladin to Min. Farrakhan to hold meetings in the early years of the rebuilding of the Nation.
“We came from where soot was coming out of heaters to now unity and honor in an exquisite place like Gallery Guichard in the community,” Barney Muhammad noted.
Min. Ishmael Muhammad expressed to the entrepreneurs how important they are to the resurrection of Black people and communities. He talked about the great sacrifices and love Min. Farrakhan has for the people, the need for unity, pooling resources and doing business among ourselves.
Elite 50 Plus members contributed and helped in all aspects of the event, with Brother Ronald Z. Muhammad helping with administrative support.
“It was a shining example of how the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is now flowering in the hearts of the people. Ninety percent of the people were not registered members of the Nation of Islam but showed their love by their presence and in their giving,” he noted.
Leon Muhammad helped in the process of securing the venue, internal set up, and retrieving a beautiful banner that was the centerpiece of the room.
Kurt X, owner of eight neighborhood laundry mats, exclaimed, “I wanted to make sure the Nation of Islam made a statement to the business community that we are here and concerned about the economics and the development of our community and encourage them to help the Minister.”
Also, in attendance were Demetrius Nash, who walked from Chicago to D.C. to protest and shed light on violence; Tamara Farris, 106.3 radio host and daycare center owner Barbara Bates of the Bates Cancer Foundation; Donald Muhammad who supplies visuals and graphics, and a host of others.