The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches that Mother’s Day is not the only day to honor mothers. The Final Call highlights Black women who extend their love beyond their families to their communities.
Love is the driving force for Pastor Wendy Turner, founder of Hope Over Hurt, a Houston, Texas-based empowerment ministry. Her journey was tough, but the power of love and service has been at the forefront of her success as a figure in leadership as a mother, grandmother and schoolteacher, she shared with The Final Call.
“I never thought beyond that, so I’m still sometimes in awe of how Allah (God) will work things in, in spite of us,” explained Pastor Turner.
Hope Over Hurt’s three pillars of service, outreach, and empowerment, are delivered— for example—by reaching out and helping people in the community learn a trade, interceding in human trafficking, aiding in soup kitchens, or advocating for new legislation to protect Blacks as a people.
“Don’t deny the proof unto yourself. We’ve gotten too far along in the world with foolery. Be encouraged! Use the wisdom, and don’t be afraid of truth,” Pastor Turner said.
“I hadn’t trusted people because of things that happened in my life at an early age … she embraced the fact that I’m still a work in progress,” stated Sonceirae Whitaker, who met Pastor Turner in 2021.
Pastor Turner cultivated in Ms. Whitaker the characteristic of speaking up from a place of experience and love, exuding the love of Christ and God, she told The Final Call.
“Originally, it was just me wanting to learn more about God, and the teaching method she has is one I can relate to and have a better understanding of,” Ms. Whitaker said.
Honored as the First Lady of the Nation of Islam and adored for her dignified service as a “Mother of The Faithful,” Khadijah Farrakhan has graced the side of her husband, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for nearly 70 years. Mother Khadijah Farrakhan is not only a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, she expands her pure love and dedication to children of the Nation of Islam and beyond.
For the children of the Nation of Islam she created, “Mother Khadijah Farrakhan’s Children’s Village,” which ‘wows’ youngsters every year during the Muslims’ annual Saviours’ Day convention.
It was created out of her love for the Nation’s youth. It includes games, rides, entertainment and gifts, held in a huge convention hall, or sometimes offsite at a gaming center. Children and their parents also enjoy classical music, science and educational workshops.
Mahalieka Muhammad of Detroit is inspired by Mother Khadijah’s life and sacrifice and considers her an ultimate example of a “mother” of a world community. Mahalieka Muhammad is co-founder of “Girl 2 Goddess,” a Detroit-based organization that inspires girls to love themselves first and then others.
She began in 2006 with Lonora Muhammad to serve women and girls, with other community agencies out of love for their community. The basis of their curriculum is the Seven Training units, taught in the Nation of Islam’s Muslim Girls’ Training and General Civilization Class (M.G.T. and G.C.C.). The key is that women and girls know who they are and love themselves, stated Mahalieka Muhammad, who attends Mosque No. 1. It is tremendous work, particularly the mentoring work in neighborhood schools, she said.
“When I think of (a) mother, I think of patience. I think of people who listen. … Children want to be listened to and the more we listen to them, the more we can serve them,” she added.
Maryam K. Muhammad attends Mosque Maryam in Chicago. She has a similar impact on youth she serves in her Chicago community. Through “Heal Thy Life Center,” Maryam K. Muhammad educates women and girls on how to live healthier lifestyles through workshops and seminars while simultaneously providing them with products to maintain their health and the health of those in their care.
“Heal Thy Life” started its “Teen Mom” program during COVID, the summer of 2020, but prior to that worked in high schools and alternative high schools with programs for moms, she explained.
“We would teach them how to care for the babies, what was happening with their bodies, what to expect during delivery, all the stuff that falls beneath the umbrella of becoming a mom,” she stated.
“It was very impactful to hear young ladies say things like, even to the point where it was emotionally moving, because you would hear young ladies say things like, ‘You’re the mom in my life, for me.’ That they didn’t get guidance from their mothers to help them through that process, so it’s very comforting for them,” stated Maryam K. Muhammad. A big need was also to have someone accompany them to doctors’ appointments or explain what was actually being said to them, she said.
‘I’m so grateful to be anything in their lives that’s needed to help these babies, and not just teen moms, but adult women as well! We find that we need to talk to the mothers of the teens to break that cycle of not being a part of that baby’s life or the pregnancy or things of that nature,” added Maryam K. Muhammad, author of “The Power to Break Generational Pain,” released in 2020. Knowledge is power and unity and being a support for one another is critical, she explained.
La’Keisha Gray-Sewell, likewise, is a girls’ advocate “by life assignment,” she explains.
The founder and director of “Girls Like Me Project,” author, transformational speaker, digital storyteller and writer, told The Final Call that the work is intense, particularly considering the challenges facing Black girls and women in their communities.
“We’re battling structural violence, gender violence, low self-esteem, mental health, and depression. We have our work cut out for us,” Ms. Sewell said.
A lack of self-love and self-knowledge is at the core of the problem, and at the root of that is the intentional bombardment of negative media stereotypes, the erasure of Black history, and the erasure of their traditions and culture, and the constant misogyny and degrading of Black girl aesthetics plays into that, she said. However, it is inspiring to know what’s on the other side of it.
A “Girls Like Me Project” based in Chicago, works to train Black girls around media literacy programs. The aim is to help them understand how media messages are constructed and created, who controls those messages, who the target audience is, and the intended outcomes of those messages, Ms. Sewell explained.
“What we noticed was that a lot of girls in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, all these different big cities, their voices were missing from this international platform, even though, in those cities, like Chicago, there was a lack of education,” Ms. Sewell said. Her work and advocacy have impacted many young Black girls.
For Jennifer Gelencia, a member of “The New Royal Family of Advocates for the Homeless,” in Washington, D.C., Sudan Muhammad, a Muslim activist who attends Mosque No. 4, has been a very inspirational “mother figure” in her community.
In fact, she stated, it was Sudan Muhammad and her children who influenced her to get into her community, and this May marks her third year of service.
“I was always supporting what she and her children were doing, but I had not been moved and inspired to get boots on the ground and get into the street,” she said.
Ms. Gelencia stated that she views Sudan Muhammad as an earth angel who has for decades gone out to answer the cries of the downtrodden and now she’s trained her own children in the way of service.
“All Praise is Due to Allah,” said Sudan Muhammad. “I heard Dr. Ava Muhammad and also Mother Tynnetta Muhammad talk about what was missing in the Black community, and that was the ‘mother tongue,’ and the presence of the mother in our community, and how we didn’t need the police,” she said.
Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad was an attorney, author and National Spokesperson of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam and Mother Tynnetta Muhammad was a scholar, author and wife of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Though both women have passed, they serve as an inspiration to thousands of women and girls and left behind inspirational bodies of work.
In 1998, Sudan Muhammad and her husband started sharing produce with their neighbors. As they realized there were other needs, they increased their efforts. She said some girls in their community confided in her about being abused by family members, which led to her knocking on doors and connecting with the community.
“Like Master Fard Muhammad, going door-to-door, and finding out, what do you need? I’m surprised that it happened like that, but it did,” she said.
Final Call Staff contributed to this report.