, Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA–The city’s premier Black educational advocacy organization Educational Opportunities for Families (EOF) held a town hall meeting and panel discussion Jan. 25 at the historic Sister Clara Muhammad University (formerly Muhammad University of Islam) in West Philadelphia. Panelists included Dr. Nikki Shoatz, Student Minister Nuri Muhammad, Imam Kenneth Nuriddin, and Dr. Malachi Muhammad. Issues discussed included:

–                 Poor and minority students are segregated into the lowest-achieving schools

–                 Black students are more likely to face disciplinary action compared to their peers


–                 Black students are more likely to be exposed to dangerous environments in school

Audience listens to program. (r) Nuri Muhammad Photos: Michael Z. Muhammad
(l-r) Imam Kenneth Nuriddin and Dr. Nikki Shoatz, Dr. Malachi Muhammad

The keynote address for the evening was delivered by Nation of Islam Student Minister Nuri Muhammad. His subject was titled, “How long do we have to wait?”

Min. Nuri Muhammad used the Holy Qur’an as the basis for his address. He outlined Satan’s plan of attack while demonstrating the book’s relevance to the Black community and its struggles.

“In Surah 17 verse 62, the target audience of Satan is not the imam’s or the sheiks, the senior citizens, the elders or the adults. The Surah states, ‘I shall cause your progeny to perish.’ His target audience is our children,” Min. Nuri Muhammad pointed out.

The razor-sharp student minister demonstrated that the school system is the White man’s “killing fields” and Black people must find an alternative to it.

Dr. Malachi Muhammad, field director for EOF and host of the event, said the organization wants to bring the reality of access to quality education for the children of Philadelphia.

“The Clara Muhammad School was picked for the town hall meeting because at one point it was the pinnacle for Black independent schools and we want to see the school rise back to its grand days of quality education,” he noted. “This is one of our continuing community partnerships, and we are going to partner with other Islamic-centered schools in the city.”

David Hardy, founder of Boys Latin Charter School and a member of EOF, told The Final Call the session was necessary because most Black children are in schools that don’t serve them.

“It is not going to get fixed until we as a community demand that it gets fixed” he said. “They have to listen to the people. We want to create a greater sense of urgency among the people.”

Dr. Nikkita Shoatz said the purpose of the town hall meeting was to address the next direction the state of education needed to take for Black children in the city.

“We are asking our parents to revert from the public schools system and bring them into the private sector, Islamic focused schools so they can be educated by people who look like them and think like them,” she said. “This session was important because most of our children are educated in the public schools and we are losing them.”