CHICAGO—Young people from across the country eagerly waited in long lines at McCormick Place in Chicago on Friday, February 24, to participate in the “We Are at War Youth Summit.” Teenagers and adults ages 13 to 35 came by the hundreds to be inspired by a panel of their peers, then to hear a spiritually enlightening address from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan tailored especially for them. (See Final Call Vol. 42 No. 22)
Within the Minister’s illuminating message, he spoke about his journey in Islam; why the enemy is focusing their attack on their generation and the importance of good character and practicing what you preach. He also cautioned them about being mindful of what they put in their brains, what comes out of their mouths, and so much more.
Brother Korey Rogan from Houston is processing to become a registered member of the Nation of Islam. He says as a 29-year-old man about to enter his 30s, Min. Farrakhan’s words about mindset were key for him.
“I’ve always been told that [the] transition from the 20s to your 30s, your mindset changes, and him speaking on that mindset was just perfect for me,” Brother Korey said.
Min. Farrakhan’s words on watching what your mind takes in also impacted him. “Those last final words when he was just basically saying, what you feed in your brain and your thoughts is going to carry out into your actions. And as a young man about to complete my 20s, those are the words that I needed,” he said.
This was Brother Korey’s first-time seeing Min. Farrakhan in person. He said the Minister’s desire to speak specifically to his age group meant a lot to him. Part of the session even made him emotional.
“The video that they did before he came out, it was so motivating,” he said. “All of his history and building a Nation and rebuilding the Nation from the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. … Just that build up. My heart was racing, you know what I mean? And then when he came out, you know, I was tearing up, but I held it together. I was tearing up and you know, just very beautiful, very beautiful.”
Sister Janaya X from Camden, N.J., said the youth summit was also her first-time seeing Min. Farrakhan in person, which stunned her. It was also her first time attending a Saviours’ Day Convention, after getting registered in September 2021. She says she believes the Minister saw deeply into the youth.
“There was something he saw of value in our generation because we are the future,” she said. “So it means to me that he wanted to plant a seed that we have to water, nourish and grow for the next generations.”
‘He really loves us’
Sister Maryam Muhammad from Atlanta recently graduated from Savannah State University. She said she was searching for a personal message that could help her with her realities as a college student in this world. “One thing that I really gathered from what the Minister was saying is that you’ve got to improve yourself first,” she said. “Like, you have to fight that devil within.
That was something that really stood out greatly to me and especially the words that you speak to yourself and the words that you listen to and that you share with your brothers and your sisters, that’s also important because I’ve been working on that myself. I’ve seen how much [music] affects you. You listen to good things, it lifts your spirit, you listen to bad things, it’ll bring your spirit down.”
The topic of the impact of words and conversation also stuck out to 19-year-old Brother Aiman Muhammad from Chicago. He’s currently in school studying business and marketing.
“I will say the part that most impacted me was the part about speech,” he said. “Changing your language and watching the things that you put into your mind because language is what brings things into existence. In the beginning, God said ‘be’ and that’s how the universe came into existence. So, language is very important for doing the things that you want to do.”
Thirty-three-year-old Mucette Muhammad is from Las Vegas and said Minister Farrakhan’s words about character are needed. “I think in the world that we live in today, that’s something that never gets talked about as something that can help break you or build you. And I think just bringing that to the forefront, especially to young people in the world that we live in, it’s like, okay, we need to focus on this a lot,” she said.
Sister Mucette says she felt honored that Minister Farrakhan wanted to speak to this age group. “I felt like at least in my experience, I don’t think young people get a lot of respect,” she said. “We haven’t put in the work or done the things that those older than us have, so we don’t get that respect. And the fact that he took that time and set it aside for us was an honor.”
Sister Mucette is a mother and says the Minister’s words will aid her in raising a child of good character.
“We also need to take that same energy and put that towards building character and our children,” she said. “And really teaching them who Allah is, and what their role in building our world, the new world, is.”
Brother Oscar Alejo, an 18-year-old from North Carolina, was also touched by the Minister’s words about character. “I feel like, how he was saying you act righteous, but you have to be righteous. … I feel like I have to take that in [for] myself. I’m not always on [top of] everything and I feel like I have to do better,” he said.
Although Brother Oscar was admittedly nervous to speak about how Minister Farrakhan’s words impacted him, his face lit up into a smile when expressing his excitement after learning the Minister wanted to speak to his age group. He says he learned about the Nation of Islam through family members. He says as he grew up, he became more interested in the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and last year, decided to become a registered member.
Nafisah Muhammad, 25, from Newark, New Jersey, said that it was an honor to be in the presence of the Muslim leader. “Being a young person on social media, I see a lot of what goes on, both good and bad. I think we have so much power within us to really uplift and fish for our Nation. I am so excited to go to work on social media to use that platform to bring people to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” she said.
“I loved how the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan touched on everything the youth are thinking in terms of where do we fit in, in the Nation. I feel like his message is always on time. I feel like the Minister is in tune with the youth, even at being almost 90 years young. When he talks the youth listen, versus when another older person says something, the youth may not listen to what they are saying,” stated Shirae X, 30, from Miami.
For Farah Muhammad, a 20-year-old from Philadelphia, hearing Minister Farrakhan speak about living the Word of God touched her. “I really liked what he said about, what we put in our brains is what we’ll actively do … that really stuck with me.
I like watching YouTube and when I’m bored, I’ll listen to music. But I’m realizing because it’s showing through my actions, that I’m not actively listening to the Word of God, but if I’m listening to the Word of God, it’ll show through my actions. Our brain is the strongest part of our body, so whatever we learn, it’ll project through us,” she said.
Sister Farah says the Minister wanting to speak to her age group meant a lot to her. “It just shows how much he really loves us and he kept speaking on how much he loves us and it shows through everything he’s done over the years. Like that man really loves us. Like, there’s no doubt, he’s been through it all, and it’s all for us,” she said.
Ziona Muhammad from Oakland was fired up after hearing Min. Farrakhan’s message. She’s an 18-year-old studying business economics and is also a student in the ministry class.
“[It was] beautiful, inspiring, it gave me power and strength,” she said. “It made me more empowered and happy, and it clarified to me that I am where I’m supposed to be. And it just helped push me in the right direction, telling me this is where you’re supposed to be and stay on this track.”
She says Minister Farrakhan’s message and desire to speak with the youth shows her that the future and the present are with the younger generation.
“If the Minister, the man of God Himself, wanted to speak to us to deliver a message, it really means that we as a people really need to step up and do more. What we’re doing now is great, but we need to do more and push more and bring in more of our people to save ourselves,” she said.
Sister Jaleela Farrakhan-Muhammad, 29, served as one of the coordinators and moderators of the youth summit and spoke on why the summit was necessary. “It’s so necessary, but this is so big. We just wanted to make sure—when you are in front of God’s people you represent the Messenger and the Teachings and bring about the change that they intended to bring—that we are bringing,” she said.
Sister Jaleela also shared with The Final Call the next steps after such a successful event that was well received. “The next step from this is planning. We want to capitalize on the spirit of Saviours’ Day. That spirit never dies,” she explained. Sister Jaleela said keeping in contact with the youth who attended the session and coordinate with the Official N.O.I. Youth Committee and members of the N.O.I. Executive Shura Council to plan something that will be of great service to the youth of the N.O.I. is the goal.
“And what I would like to see happen, is that through the survey, getting everyone’s information, if we could link our youth who are in the same college and university and if we could pool everyone together so that youth could walk life in college as a Muslim and not feel so alone and create spaces within an institution so that we can thrive. That’s one of the goals I can say, for sure, that we want to see come from this.”
Sister Jadayah Muhammad, 27, directs the International Youth Leadership Institute in Brooklyn, New York, which is dedicated to Black youth and represents the organization at the United Nations, served as one of the guest panelists at the start of the summit. The main message that she wished to impart to the attendees was to let them know that there is a place for them in the Nation. “Allah would not set you up to be born into this, only for you to have to be unrighteous for you to achieve the things you want in life,” she said.
“You can be here and be you and help in the process,” she concluded.
Aalia Muhammad, a 20-year-old student from Ft. Lauderdale and member of the Official N.O.I. Youth Committee, was deeply inspired by the presenters. “As youth we struggle and so hearing the panelists, it gave us so much inspiration, so much conviction, so much more conviction, I should say, because I am in the student ministry class. I am active, but it’s like what are you really doing? So, it makes you think twice. I can always do more, I can always give more.”
But what resonated the most with Sister Aalia was a statement by Minister Farrakhan during his message to the youth. “He said, ‘the devil wants you. He needs hope for us to extend his time, but from what I have heard today, he can take that hope off the table,’” she said referencing the Minister.
“I said, Oh Allah! To know that the Minister believes that the Nation is secure with us youth today and seeing what he heard and what I heard; they were so convicted and so strong and it just made you two times stronger in what we believe in to know that we have other youth all across the Nation that believe the same way you do. So, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan saying that really gave me the strength I need to go back home in my own respective city and move out on what I say I believe in.”
Donna Muhammad and Shawntell Muhammad contributed to this report.