Minister Rahim Aton of Temple of Mercy Association (left) and Pastor Victoria Brady (right) at a community event in April at ABJ Community Services in Chicago. On May 27 Min. Rahim and Pastor Brady convened a town hall to focus on community issues. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

ABJ Community Services, Inc., headed by Pastor Victoria Brady, and Original Men In Black (the security arm of the Temple of Mercy Association), headed by Minister Rahim Aton, hosted the “Art of Unity: State of Emergency for the Black Community” town hall meeting.

The overwhelming increase in crime and violence within Chicago’s predominantly Black communities, along with the dangers of Covid-19, moved these two organizations to call the town hall meeting, which is one in a series of planned meetings.

The meeting held May 27 focused on achieving solutions for community health issues, public safety and nation building.

“We have to stop religious gang banging. That was the last trick, we believe, that those who produced a Satanic influence in our lives, that is their last trick. Keeping us divided by religion,” Minister Rahim Aton said in his opening statement.


“We have to put aside our religious and philosophical differences and unite under the things that we have in common. It has become common to hear about 40 persons being shot on a Saturday and about seven dead. Seems like it’s common, but we can’t let it be so common that we don’t care anymore. In order to cause change, it has to be radical,” he continued.

Pastor Brady remarked, “I would like to give thanks to the Illinois Department of Human Services for awarding ABJ the Healing Illinois grant. The grant gives the community an opportunity to talk about racism and different issues that plague the community and strategies for healing. In the case for ABJ, I don’t want to talk about racism, I don’t want to talk about all them buzzwords. I want to talk about me and my people. I want to talk about us and what we’re going to do in our solutions.

“We have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren, that’s why we’re here tonight,” she said.

Natural health was highlighted as an avenue to combat the deterioration of health among Black people.

“My solution tonight is deliverance. Deliverance from what? The deliverance from the Egypt that is in your mind. How do you deliver yourself from Egypt? We’ve been marching, talking, and he’s still feeding y’all,” said Dr. Camilla Alfred, owner of Tree of Life Colonic Center, referring to Blacks depending on Whites for food.

“Why? Because we don’t know who we are. We don’t know that we have authority. And what comes with authority? We don’t know our power. You need to know your power, that’s why we’re not healing. We’re not thinking on a higher level,” she said.

The National Block Club University was represented by Sy Smith. This organization has chapters in various cities throughout the United States to help create safe neighborhoods.

The organization’s seven-day plan is replicated by all chapters: Mondays are dedicated to safety (home and community); Tuesdays to education; Wednesdays to economics; Thursdays to health; Fridays to senior citizens; Saturdays are to the youth. Details about each plan (day) can be found on their website at

For more information about ABJ Community Services, visit For information about Original Men in Black, visit their Facebook page. Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].