CHICAGO—The aroma of food greeted a lively crowd at Let’s Eat to Live restaurant for a community service event hosted by the Elite 50-Plus Supportive Services Commission.
The Nov. 19 event lifted the memory of the late Elite 50-Plus Student Lt. Khalil Muhammad, provided information about a scholarship given annually in his name and informed the audience about healthcare and other resources available to the community.
Moderator Brother Barney Muhammad reflected on a resolution the Elite 50-Plus Commission provided during Brother Lt. Khalil’s 2019 janazah (funeral) service. The resolution called for an annual celebration to commemorate Bro. Khalil.
Upon hearing that proclamation, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan instructed that a scholarship also be given in Lt. Khalil’s name. The annual scholarship was given this year to graduating Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.) student Bro. Berve Muhammad.
“We were determined to carry out the Minister’s instructions,” Bro. Barney Muhammad told the audience. “We want to reflect on Bro. Khalil’s life of service in hopes to inspire us all to work harder to spread the message of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We also want to make the community aware of the resources available for our healthcare and well-being.”
A brief bio on Bro. Khalil was read by Supportive Services member James G. Muhammad, which included the resolution. While the bio was read, videos and photographs of Bro. Khalil were shown on a large monitor.
Bro. Lt. Khalil was the top salesperson of Nation of Islam products, including books, tapes, water and the world-famous bean pie. Bro. Khalil still holds the record for the most Final Call newspapers sold in one issue at more than 2,300.
Born in 1928, Bro. Khalil became a registered Fruit of Islam (F.O.I., the men in the Nation of Islam) in 1965. In 1991, during the rebuilding of the Nation of Islam, Min. Farrakhan appointed Bro. Khalil in charge of the then-newly commissioned Elite 50-Plus Squad, which are F.O.I. 50 years of age and older. The Supportive Services Commission is tasked with being a resource for Elite 50 members concerning healthcare and other well-being needs.
Presentations were made by Dr. Cornelius Rogers, a physician with the Salaam Wellness Center, which adjoins Let’s Eat to Live restaurant, healthcare benefits specialist Ameer Muhammad and prison reform specialist Lionel Muhammad.
A special presentation was given by Student Minister Abdul Muhammad, an award-winning Chicago Public Schools principal and teacher who is challenging CPS over his firing from Lindbloom High School.
Dr. Rogers told the audience to plan for their health and well-being which includes meditation, prayer and moderation. “Stop eating when you can still eat—don’t eat too much. Stop sleeping when you can still sleep. Don’t sleep your life away, get up and do something. I’m not talking much about the preventive health steps as much as I’m talking about what’s going to motivate us to do something,” he said.
Lionel Muhammad said he spent 23 years in jail for a crime he did not commit and now communicates with 1,500 inmates weekly via mail. Reflecting on Minister Farrakhan’s request for men at the 1995 Million Man March to adopt an inmate, Bro. Lionel had the opportunity to ask the Minister why.
“If you don’t connect with that world, you will never change the reality of this world. That’s a world we have become disconnected from,” he said of the Minister’s response. “They are going to come back. If they have no connection to the brothers and sisters on the outside, what are they coming back to?”
Ameer Muhammad, a grandson of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, said he became interested in the healthcare benefits industry when his mother became ill. As a caregiver, he had to learn about Medicare and other government-funded health benefits, a task he described as daunting.
“I help folks to understand the gravity of the situation. They make (understanding healthcare benefits) confusing on purpose, so you won’t engage, so you won’t take care of yourself,” he said.
“They make it difficult unnecessarily, like everything Satan puts his hands on. I stand proud and I hope to live up to whatever Allah has for me. The work (of resurrection) is not over, and that work is for all of us.”
When CPS removed Student Minister Abdul Muhammad as principal from Lindbloom High School, they didn’t expect a fight—but a fight they are getting. Bro. Abdul has won Chicago’s “Teacher of the Year” award and was twice nominated for the Golden Apple Award, the highest honor a teacher can receive.
He was removed this year after exposing alleged unlawful activity by Lindbloom staff and discriminatory practices against Black principals. Bro. Abdul’s ability to connect with the students and even stop fighting that occurs in many facilities is widely known. But when a solution is presented, the system rejects that solution, he said.
“Whenever you go into a place and begin to do the phenomenal work Allah (God) has blessed me to do, it creates envy; there would always be some envy from the staff,” he said. “If you are Black in America, you already have a target on your back,” he said. “When you transform lives the way the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad transform lives, the target on your back gets bigger.”
Student Lt. Billy Muhammad, who opened and closed the event with prayer, admonished the audience to be “servants” to help develop safe and decent communities. “Nobody comes to God except as a servant,” he said.
“The greatest among you, let them be your servant. The two greatest on the battlefield are the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Farrakhan. Get in the mud of serving the people.”
The class of 2024 male M.U.I. high school students can apply for next year’s scholarship by visiting www.muichicago.org to submit a request for application or via email at [email protected].
—The Final Call