A youth ensemble, was one of several performers that provided lively entertainment for attendees. Photos: Abdul K. Muhammad

CHICAGO—Every year, the youth are spotlighted to showcase their talents and gifts, participate in workshops and educational programs and enjoy food and entertainment as part of Youth and Family Day. This year’s event took place December 10 at Mosque Maryam, national headquarters of the Nation of Islam.

The day began with presentations from students of Muhammad University of Islam. They shared their accomplishments and appreciation for the school.

A DJ played music and entertained the crowd.

Madinah Muhammad, 20, a recent graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago in neuroscience and former M.U.I. student, said to the youth audience during the morning message, “If we don’t know or love ourselves, it gets much more difficult for us to reach self-mastery that will take us to the next level that we are looking for.”

She also told The Final Call, “It was a blessing to be a part of something so great. I feel like Allah (God) worked through every individual that was a part of that day, putting it in the hearts of the speakers to emphasize a knowledge and love for self, and I pray it touched as many people as it was meant to touch. Insha’Allah (God-willing), we begin to do this more often and continue to attract our people back to their home.”

Sister Sondra Muhammad of Parents United To Build A Future For Our Children speaks during Youth and Family Day activities.

A passionate and inspiring message delivered by keynote speaker Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, followed the youth speakers.

He emphasized to the youth audience that they are all “winners” and can overcome the struggles of life. Many of the youth participants appreciated the message.

“He touched on a triggering question and the triggering question was ‘do you love God?’ He turned around and said we are gods and if we are gods, if we don’t love God, then we can’t love ourselves,” youth participant Eugene Devon Moore told The Final Call. He said the talent showcase has a “heavy impact on the community.”

Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad greets youth after delivering a powerful message at Mosque Maryam on Dec. 10.

Brea Borice, 14, told The Final Call, “It’s more fun for everybody not being cooped up in the house.” Her older sister, Olbia Borice, 15, chimed in, “This is very fun, this is very lit! I love this church (Mosque Maryam) even though I’ve only been going here a couple of weeks.”

She continued, “It’s good for children our age to come out and enjoy ourselves without our parents saying we can’t do this or that.”

Sondra Muhammad, host and coordinator, wanted the Youth and Family Day to be an opportunity for the youth to show their potential and gifts. She is the founder of Parents United To Build A Future For Our Children.

“The theme was putting down self-hatred [and] picking up self-love,” she told The Final Call. “They (attendees) were talking about the Messenger (the Honorable Elijah Muhammad), His work in this country, Malcolm X—it was great. I also interviewed 14 children and they all said it was good. This year, it was more of ‘you can do!’ and ‘you are great!’”

She said that for next year, she wants to target more Black men and boys.

The gymnasium at Muhammad University of Islam was filled with young people of all ages at a recent Youth and Family Day event in Chicago.

“This year it was a lot of women. I think we need to focus on the Black male.”

Sondra Muhammad extends her gratitude to all the other coordinators, participants and overall helpers, including Parents United To Build A Future For Our Children who made the event possible.

“I think that it impacts the community in a strong way because otherwise these kids wouldn’t have the knowledge that they have,” said Lin Isabel, founder and director of the Misfits Soul Steppers Drill Team Inc. Her group performed during the youth talent show which took place along with other activities after the mosque meeting.

“You gotta bring them in an atmosphere that’s interesting to them. That’s how you get ’em,” she continued.