The Rockford Study Group Invites You

Video Replay




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Rockford's Audio Podcast:

 

(Audio replay from 3-8-2020): Rockford's Nation of Islam Student Minister, Yahcolyah Muhammad, speaks on the subject of "This Man Jesus," in which he explains and describes the identity of both the historical and prophetic Jesus as told from both the Bible and Holy Qur'an as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Brother Yahcolyah explains the time, what must be done, and America's role in fulfillment of 'Mystery Babylon the Great' and how the 400 year enslavement of Black people bears witness to Genesis 15:13-15. 


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STUDY GROUP MEETING TIMES
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7). 

"He grants wisdom to whom He pleases. And whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good. And none mind but men of understanding." 
(Holy Qur'an 2:269).



Sundays: General lecture 10:00AM
Mondays: FOI Class (Brothers only) 7:30 PM
Wednesdays: Evening lecture: 7:30PM 
Saturdays: MGT Class (Sisters only) TBA


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For more information: Call (815) 742-6758

The Rockford Study Group:
1005 S. Court Street, Rockford, IL 61102 

rockfordnoistudygroup@gmail.com 




From The Final Call Newspaper

Black America confronts coronavirus: Advocates seek to blunt suffering for already suffering community

By by Naba’a Muhammad, Tariqah Shakir- Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad The Final Call @TheFinalCall


CHICAGO—The last place 63-year-old Diane Latiker should be is around young people in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. She and her husband, who is 67, are among the most vulnerable because of their age. Youngsters are less likely to suffer from the disease—but can still carry it.


Shoppers stand in line inside a large warehouse retailer, March 12, in Kennesaw, Ga. Amid all the fears, quarantines and stockpiling of food, it has been easy to ignore the fact that more than 60,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus spreading around the globe. Photo: AP Photo/Mike Stewart


But the founder of Kids Off the Block, a program devoted to Black youth and based in the Roseland neighborhood, is feeding young people while public schools are closed. Youngsters may be back to school in April and the governor of Illinois, with Chicago’s mayor by his side, recently announced the city was in shutdown mode. As of March 21, no one except essential personnel is allowed to freely roam the streets.

“We are the most vulnerable, my husband and I are both over 60. Of course, it worries us, and we got the news, and we’re looking at each other and we’re like ‘we gotta go in the house and close the door, curl up and don’t do anything?’ Because we’re vulnerable? And then we looked at each other again and went ‘no, the least we can do is try’ because the young people we had talked to said that they are not going to the school to eat,” she said.

Mrs. Latiker posted plans to feed young people on Facebook and got support. She and her husband were also able to feed the homeless. “They needed help too,” she said. “They be so grateful that somebody in the community that don’t have to care does care.”


Diane Latiker hands out food wearing mask. Photo: Haroon Rajaee


Malik Thomas, who lives in Roseland, said, “I wasn’t really following the news like that. I feel like there may be a bit of panic and fear going around. I live right here, so seeing this right outside my house is just—I love that, that’s really cool.”

Despite the health risk, Mrs. Latiker plans to keep doing what she is doing. She argues Black children shouldn’t have to go outside of their communities to get help. “When it’s right in their community, that’s special to them. You can feel the love,” she said.

Across the country and from the halls of Congress to the streets of the Windy City, Black activists, political and religious leaders are trying to make sure an already suffering community doesn’t feel extra pain in a time of national crisis.

Many are concerned about how non-profit groups, like Mrs. Latiker’s organization, will fare as the economy grinds to a halt. They also wonder how churches will survive if parishioners can’t come out to worship services and tithe, how the incarcerated, especially aging prisoners, will fare, what the change means for Black America’s way of life, Black workers, Black entrepreneurs and, even, Black voters with some primary elections postponed. At Final Call presstime, 12 states had declared a state of emergency and at least 114,000 public and private schools were closed.

Whether Black adults can do basic things like survive being off work, buy food and whether their children can have internet access to do schoolwork online are real concerns.

The coronavirus, which can strike the respiratory system, has higher than normal death rates, potential to spread, lagging U.S. testing and has impacted or could impact all of these areas.

Despite internet memes and jokes, like Black folks insisting ginger ale can cure the ‘rona, these are serious times.

The coronavirus fundamentally altered the way Americans live. Movement has been curtailed, schools and businesses shuttered, and sports leagues suspended. Public school and colleges closed amid panicked buying and a president who continually lied about the crisis is most concerned with the virus’ economic impact and impact on his reelection.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a major address in Detroit to close the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention, warned America is facing dangerous times under an imperial president and is a nation facing divine judgment.

“As I was watching the impeachment trial of President Trump, I was looking at America, not at her finest hour, but I watched the high level of chicanery; the high level of deceit,” said Min. Farrakhan. Brilliant lawyers on two sides used skillful knowledge of the law to outsmart one another, not to agree on truth, he observed.

“And I watched the Bible being fulfilled: If Satan casts out Satan, how then can his kingdom stand?” said the Minister, who delivered his message before some 15,000 people at the TCF Center in Detroit in February.

“You, my poor, pitiful brothers and sisters, you are opting to be a part of that that is unraveling right in front of your eyes. … The condition of America is puzzling. The world is looking at a country going to hell,” he said.

“So there’s a verse in the Qur’an that I was thinking of. It’s in the 16th Surah, the 92nd verse and it said, ‘Be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly.’ … That’s what’s happening to America as we speak. America was not built on a firm foundation. … How do you build a nation, killing the native people? How do you build a nation, bringing a whole people out of Africa to America to be made slaves? This is your foundation, so for them to lie to you, and make you think that America is a land of promise for you, and you believe it; no wonder Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,’” he added.

President Trump March 13 declared a national emergency, freeing $50 billion in federal resources to battle COVID-19, amid fears the disease could implode national medical and health care infrastructure.

There were calls for moratoriums on evictions and mortgage foreclosures, fees and fines, cell phone and utility shut-offs, which some companies and localities agreed to.

Anthony Fauci, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing.”



Sarah Richardson, at right, and Cynthia Gourdine, at left, with the nutrition depart- ment for the Charleston County School District, delivers some grab and go bags of food for area school children at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School, March 16, in Charleston, S.C. With all schools closed in South Carolina to at least the end of March because of the Coronavirus area school districts are providing two meals a day to area school children. Photo: AP Photo/Mic Smith


“Everybody has to get involved in distancing themselves socially. If you are in an area where there’s clear community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” he added. The goal is to blunt the curve of confirmed cases and attempt to keep the number of those infected low enough that America’s hospital system isn’t overwhelmed, he stressed.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, convened a Tele Town Hall March 20 to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting Blacks. She and others argued that Blacks need specific measures aimed at getting them through tough times as Covid-19 infections and death rates continued to rise in the United States.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black and Hispanic workers are “more than twice as likely to receive poverty-level wages compared to their White counterparts.” About 8 percent of Black and Hispanic workers earn wages below the poverty level compared to 4 percent of their White counterparts and only 29 percent of the workforce was able to work from home.

“We’re talking about families buying goods and stocking up for two to three weeks; well, many of our families are trying to get food for this week,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church on Chicago’s South Side.


Makennize Young, 8, prays before recieving lunch, March 16, at Hilldale Aparment Complex in Tupelo Mississippi as part of the Tupelo/Lee County Hunger Coalition response to help feed school children who received free or reduced lunches at their schools. Photo: Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP


“They don’t have the luxury of going out and shopping to get stored-up food for their homes. We’re telling people to stay in their houses, but we have thousands of homeless people who have no house to go to.”

“If the state communities do not speak up now and use their voice to speak out and to confront the isolation and abandonment, then we’ve failed, and we don’t have a right to reopen our churches, mosques or synagogues if we’re being silent when the poor most need our voice,” he said. “I think the mindset amongst ourselves should be to connect with each other because we’re already a disconnected society and now this isolation that the government is telling us needs to take place is the danger of people being even more disconnected and leading open the door for depression, for suicide and all the rest that already has high numbers in this country.”





At Final Call press time, the coronavirus had taken over 500 lives in the U.S. and infected thousands of people. Black victims, including actor Idris Elba and NBA star Kevin Durant, dispelled the myth of “melanin immunity” to the virus, which began late last year in Wuhan, China.


Confronting a crisis

“Above and beyond all, we need to protect our health and safety,” commented Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

Follow health professional recommendations of social distancing and the elderly, those with respiratory problems like asthma, which are prevalent in Black America, and diseases that compromise the immune system need to protect themselves, he said.

And, Mr. Morial added, “We’ve got to advocate to ensure the federal, state and local governments are going to give considerations to issues of equity as we go forward.”

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order, but state agencies will keep providing medical care, food stamps, some employment, cash assistance, and other benefits through May.

Similar to orders in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other places people can go to places like hospitals, doctors, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, famers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, laundromats and laundry services—and can even go for walks. Some state and local government offices are open but dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms, public gatherings, and convention centers have been closed.

According to the Pew Research Center, these safety measures will heavily impact Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, and many under 50, especially those likely to use public transportation.

Among urban residents, 34 percent of Blacks and 27 percent of Hispanics report taking public transit daily or weekly, compared with only 14 percent of Whites, said the Pew Center.

Mr. Morial sees layoffs hitting low-wage, hourly, and younger workers quickly. There was little or no change in Black unemployment rates for workers in February, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. But unemployment claims have soared.

“These unemployment checks are sometimes 50 percent, 60 percent of one’s paycheck,” said Mr. Morial. “If you’re already a low-income, a low-wage worker, getting an unemployment check certainly is welcome, but it is not sufficient enough for you to pay your rent, to pay for your food, take care of your family, so we have to advocate for a stronger response from an unemployment insurance point of view.”

The federal government is allowing states to change some laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits related to the coronavirus crisis.

Federal law allows states to pay benefits where an employer temporarily ceases operations due to Covid-19, or when someone is quarantined expecting a return to work after quarantine, and if a worker leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member, said the Labor Dept.

The Senate approved March 18 a $100 billion-plus bill to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers hit by it. Still, advocates pointed out, there were holes in the bill to ensure the neediest workers are covered.

“The broader recovery plan they are discussing needs to have a focus on people and it needs to be bottoms-up, as opposed to a top down corporate bail-out program,” said Mr. Morial.

He feels President Trump’s initial recommendation of a $1,000 per person relief check is insufficient, though many would welcome it.

“We’ve got to make sure that this plan that they’re discussing has sufficient support for people who are going to lose their jobs, particularly for people who have no cushion, no safety net, no savings,” Mr. Morial continued.

Rep. Bass said more legislation is coming and will need to fill gaps.

“We’ve got to learn from (Hurricane) Katrina. We’ve got to learn from 9/11. We’ve got to learn that if you put resources into an inequitable system, then the benefits are not going to be broadly available, so we’ve got to make sure that they focus on that in how they design this thing,” said Mr. Morial.

As for elections, Black advocates called for expanding vote by mail, same day voter registration and scaling back measures like strict I.D. laws that suppress the Black vote. Advocates called for releasing non-violent offenders, no bail for minor offenses and testing and treatment for inmates. For the Census, they want extra effort made to ensure Blacks are properly counted to qualify for federal funding and political representation.

Turning to one another in tough times

In Los Angeles, activists on Skid Row say they filled the gap when city officials failed the country’s largest homeless population. They launched the Hand Washing Stations for Skid Row campaign, building and placing hand washing stations throughout the 50-block area. Hand washing is considered key to limiting the spread of the virus.

Professional educators and homeschoolers have formed groups online to help children academically and occupy time with arts and crafts.

The Corona Virus Community Support group in Long Beach, Calif., pooled resources to help seniors, single, and pregnant mothers and the disabled.

According to a March 20 post shared by Black Lives Matter activist Dawn Modkins, the group collected canned goods, water, toilet paper, soaps, diapers, baby formula, crackers, bread, personal hygiene and other items to give to neighbors in need.

“It’s amazing that the time we’re in and what we’re facing manifests the truth, the practicality, and the availability of the program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and by that I mean the things that he taught Black people, through such books as How to Eat to Live, apply it now, more than ever,” said Student Minister Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for Minister Farrakhan.

Among foods some media sources have recommended storing are dried beans, which is what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught is good for consumption, namely the small white navy bean, she noted.

Not only have Blacks gotten away from canning to preserve foods, but they have also gotten away from cooking at home, growing food, shopping for fresh vegetables and often eat fast food or pre-packaged food, said Min. Muhammad.

“The upside to this situation is that it is forcing us to pause from the cultural and emotional effect of capitalism. We have been caught up in this whirlwind of material acquisition of commodities where we have a desire, almost like an addiction to designer brand-name closing, going to nail salons, buying make-up and hair, and all of these things that are doing actually nothing to improve our condition,” she said.

“My message to us is from my teacher and that is to go on pause, to calm down, quiet down, and think about being in your place of abode, not only during this crisis, but spending more time there period,” said Min. Ava Muhammad. “I think that we should use this time to do some self-examination and self-analysis about our individual selves and us as a community, and hopefully, that will lead to self-correction.”

Michael Ware, founder of Black Truckers United, told The Final Call Black truckers, and the industry in general, hasn’t been hurt health wise or by a lack of jobs. But, he said, revenue for freight pickup and delivery needs to be higher.

“If that were to come up, it would be a whole lot better for drivers across the board, our people as well as everybody else,” said Mr. Ware, who has been driving for 22 years.

Most drivers aim for freight pay of $2 a mile or higher, so a $3-5 rate is pretty good, but that’s through brokers, not direct shippers, which is a bit more difficult to acquire, he said.

Truckers are at low risk for getting infected because they are usually in their trucks separated from people, said Mr. Ware.

As many brace for more economic shutdowns, Black truckers dealing with major companies, like big, wholesale stores, may stay afloat, and the demand may increase, he said. People and businesses have posted messages of gratitude for truckers on social media, including on his Black Truckers United Facebook page, Mr. Ware added. One person offered not only a trucking parking lot for resting but gave 40 percent off meals for drivers just to say thank you, he said.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Changing America’s way of life?

By Barrington M. Salmon Contributing Writer @bsalmondc

WASHINGTON—In recent weeks, Americans grappled with the inevitability of the coronavirus reaching this country. Public anxiety ratcheted up as the number of cases and fatalities grew, but there was a sense that it wouldn’t get as bad here as it had in China, South Korea and Italy.


Trader John Romolo works on the floor of the New York Stock Ex- change, March 5. Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street, erasing two percent from major indexes, a day after surging four percent as the mood swings back to fear about the effects of a fast- spreading virus. Photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Then, as if a light switch went on, jittery Americans watched the stock market, and their 401Ks and pensions, tumble to new record lows day-after-day; the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an international pandemic; President Donald Trump and administration officials failed to reassure the public facing a major public health emergency.

The coronavirus has fundamentally altered the way Americans live, at least in the short-term. Major and minor league sports—college and professional basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and NASCAR—announced the shutdown of operations or suspension of play.

Then came public school and college closures, shutdowns of businesses, panicked buying and a president who continually lied about the crisis and seemed most concerned with the virus’ economic impact and impact on his possible reelection.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in a major address in Detroit to close the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day convention, warned that America was facing dangerous times under an imperial president and was a nation facing divine judgment.

“As I was watching the impeachment trial of President Trump, I was looking at America, not at her finest hour, but I watched the high level of chicanery; the high level of deceit,” said Min. Farrakhan. Brilliant lawyers on two sides used skillful knowledge of the law to outsmart one another, not to agree on truth, he observed.

“And I watched the Bible being fulfilled: If Satan casts out Satan, how then can his kingdom stand?” said the Minister, who delivered his Feb. 23 message before some 15,000 people at the TCF Center in Detroit.

“You, my poor, pitiful brothers and sisters, you are opting to be a part of that that is unraveling right in front of your eyes. You see the country cascading downward. You see the moral fiber of America getting into the gutter. Who wants a membership in a house of whores?” he asked.

“The subject for my lecture today, which is full of good news and warning: ‘The Unraveling of a Great Nation.’ When you unravel something, you undo twisted, knitted, or woven threads; you investigate and solve or explain something complicated or puzzling,” Min. Farrakhan continued.

“The condition of America is puzzling. The world is looking at a country going to hell. The world is looking at a president who wants to be king; when the Constitution and the founding fathers were trying to run away from what they suffered in Europe under the kings.


In this photo provided by Austin Boschen, people wait in line to go through the customs at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, March 14. International travelers reported long lines at the customs at the airport as staff took extra precautions to guard against the new coronavirus, The Dallas Morning News reports. Boschen said it took him at least four hours to go through the customs. Photo: Austin Boschen via AP


“So there’s a verse in the Qur’an that I was thinking of. It’s in the 16th surah, the 92nd verse and it said, ‘Be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly.’ … That’s what’s happening to America as we speak. America was not built on a firm foundation. … How do you build a nation, killing the native people? How do you build a nation, bringing a whole people out of Africa to America to be made slaves? This is your foundation, so for them to lie to you, and make you think that America is a land of promise for you, and you believe it; no wonder Jesus said, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,’” he added.

National emergency declaration: Too little too late?

President Trump March 13 declared a national emergency, freeing $50 billion in federal resources to battle COVID-19, amid fears the disease could place an almost impossible burden on hospitals and national medical and healthcare infrastructure. The declaration makes available supplies, personnel and other support available; encourages every state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately; and requires every hospital in the country “to activate its emergency preparedness plan.”

The Centers for Disease Control called for limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people. New Jersey announced a no travel order between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. on March 16. Gov. Phil Murphy said the statewide curfew would be coupled with coordinated closures of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut casinos, bars, gyms and restaurants.

During a March 16 briefing of the White House group handling the coronavirus crisis, President Trump called for gatherings of no more than 10 people and finally admitted the pandemic was real.

A Business Insider article speaks of a leaked presentation from a webinar hosted by the American Hospital Association which shows one expert’s estimate that 96 million Americans could be infected, about 500,000 deaths were possible, and 4.8 million people could eventually need hospitalization.

Experts warn the U.S. is short on ICU beds and ventilators needed to treat the disease. Trying to prepare for the worst, hospitals were ramping up their capacity and setting priorities. One proposal would draw doctors out of retirement, others are canceling elective surgeries, and calling for setting up “Covid Cabanas” to treat suspected coronavirus cases, setting up tents outside main facilities, and more.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, has been a persistent critic of the U.S. government’s response.

“We are so incredibly underprepared for a major onslaught to hospitals, which is basically now inevitable,” Dr. Redlener told Yahoo News. “We have to look at Italy and see what happened and I think we’re actually in worse shape. We don’t have enough hospital beds; we don’t have enough ICU beds. And by the way, even if we had the 100,000-plus ventilators that we actually need, we don’t have the staff to operate them.”

Much of the blame for the federal government’s anemic response, the slow ramp up of tests and other resources nationally and the almost blanket denial of Covid-19’s spread by federal officials has come to rest at the feet of President Trump. From the beginning, critics charge, he has downplayed the crisis, at one point calling it a “hoax,” blamed the pandemic on foreigners and Democrats, and shut down air travel from Europe to the U.S. in a futile effort to stem the proliferation of the disease.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Trump administration’s failed response is because the National Security Council’s global pandemic team was disbanded by former national security adviser John Bolton. The Trump administration has not bothered to fill those vacancies, leaving gaping and troubling vulnerabilities in America’s global pandemic preparedness.

Furthermore, when President Trump released the administration’s 2021 budget in February, it contained proposed cuts that would reduce funding at the CDC by 16 percent and remove $3 billion for global health programs.

Critics inside and outside of the medical community lobbed withering critiques of Mr. Trump and the poor federal government response.

“(T)he World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 (coronavirus) an international pandemic. And with conflicting information coming out of the White House and Trump’s administration, misinformation and confusion are spreading like wildfire,” MoveOn.org said in a recent statement. “…What we need the most in this moment of crisis is competent and honest leadership in the White House that prioritizes the lives and livelihoods of all of us … This crisis has exposed the Trump Administration’s incompetence and its underlying corruption. It’s dangerous and it may even cost lives. While we fight to protect our families and communities, we also have to call out the threats and demand that they do better.”


Few travelers are seen in a mostly empty flight check-in area at John F. Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 1, March 13, in New York. Recently, President Trump banned most foreign visitors coming to the United States from continental Europe to try to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: AP Photo/Kathy Willens


“Moments like these are when the role of a competent federal government—one that prioritizes the interest of people over profits—is so essential. While we focus on keeping our families and communities safe, we must also recognize that we deserve better as a country, and we must speak out when our leaders are putting corporate profits and their own reputations above the interests of public health,” said the progressive public policy advocacy group.

‘All this was avoidable’

Economist Dr. William Spriggs, former chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University, said much of what has happened could have been avoided.

“My own thoughts are evolving as things develop but there’s no reason for it to have this big an impact,” said Dr. Spriggs, who also serves as chief economist to the AFL-CIO. “There didn’t need to be a real recession. (They) waited until now to ask what workers do if they stay home. Recessions will separate people from their jobs.”

“We learned lesson during the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009 to not have any public events and close those places where the disease could flourish,” he said. “Ten years ago, we already knew this. There should have been a planned shutdown.”

Dr. Spriggs said what the public needs to remember is that the stock market is not the real economy.

“What you’re seeing in the stock market is a vote on Donald Trump. There’s too much uncertainty and huge unease,” he said. “For a long time, people said he’s incompetent but as long as the stock market is doing well and the economy is good, it’s fine. In a way, what we’re all experiencing is because of that. We’re paying for an incompetent and the whole world sees it.”

“Consumer spending will go down as people stay home because of the coronavirus. That will hit a number of industries particularly hard, such as the service industry, travel providers, live entertainment venues, movie theaters, and more. That in turn could lead to a domino effect, with turmoil in one industry spilling over to another,” commented WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “For example, if a restaurant owner can no longer pay rent, the property owner might not be able to pay its loan, and the bank that made the loan might end up suffering as well.”

He praised a House bill passed March 13 aimed at providing relief for those struck by job losses and economic fallout from the coronavirus. “It is a good first step, if it gets through the Senate without significant changes or delays. It is a must that the final legislation includes free coronavirus testing for everyone and covers hospitalization costs for those affected, regardless of insurance coverage,” said Mr. Papadimitriou. “Regardless, it looks like we’ll need more legislation after this to further support the economy and affected workers.”

Rashad Robinson, of Color Of Change, an online racial justice organization, called for protecting Blacks from fallout associated with the crisis.

“Together, we will hold corporate and government decision-makers accountable and ensure that Black and marginalized communities are not denied the care, protection and support that all communities deserve,” he said March 13. These power holders have roles to play for everything from job and income support to protecting voting rights, taking care of prisoners and ensuring the marginalized communities aren’t left in the cold.

“After years of Republicans, Big Pharma and major corporations fighting against paid sick leave legislation and Medicare for all we are left with a crisis where disproportionately Black low wage workers are continuing to support the public without the health insurance or paid time off that would make us all safer,” asserted Mr. Robinson. “When we return to ‘normal,’ the normal for most people will be economic hell. That’s why we are immediately calling for a moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs. For Black and poor communities that are being urged by the Center for Disease Control to stay home from work as much as possible, following health instructions shouldn’t mean added financial hardship.”

He also warned Black voters should not be denied their essential right in midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Now with coronavirus, existing voter disenfranchisement only exacerbates both the health risks and the lack of access for Black voters. States with upcoming primary elections should actively consider providing expanded ballot access on an emergency basis for this election and in a permanent, ongoing way for future elections. Any restrictions on travel or public gatherings must include provisions or exceptions that will ensure that voters, particularly oft-targeted Black voters, voters reliant on public transit, and other marginalized voters, are not disenfranchised,” he said.

“This epidemic also lands at a critical time for the launch of the 2020 Census. We must ensure that our national response does not jeopardize a full and accurate count of all populations and neighborhoods. Black people are among the most undercounted populations in the census and an undercount will lead to communities not getting the funding and representation they need or deserve for the next 10 years,” Mr. Robinson added.

“We are deeply concerned about the health, safety, and dignity of disproportionately Black incarcerated men and women as officials respond to this outbreak. While prison populations are quarantined from the general public, they are at high risk for Covid-19 outbreaks as they are kept in close quarters with inadequate food, water, and health care. Yet the nation’s jails and prisons have reportedly little access to coronavirus tests and in some cases, no soap, despite the inevitable spread of the epidemic in a captive population. Federal and state officials must ensure that testing and treatment for Covid-19 is available as needed in all jails and prisons,” he said.

“Concern for this population is only exacerbated by the fact that large percentages of the American prison population are incarcerated without trial, presumed innocent, but held because they are too impoverished to pay bail. There is no need for these people to be unjustly exposed to sub-par sanitary conditions in the midst of a pandemic, simply because they are poor and disproportionately Black. Similarly, state and local officials should also use all available powers to immediately release incarcerated people who are particularly vulnerable to illness, such as the elderly and pregnant women, so they can move to lower risk environments. And anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 inside a jail or prison should be released and moved to receive adequate care in a hospital.”

“They must also eliminate requirements that force incarcerated people to perform jobs that put them at risk for contracting the virus and institute a minimum wage for incarcerated workers who are providing vital services during this crisis. In New York state, prisoners are being forced to manufacture hand sanitizer, that they are banned from using, while being paid only pennies-per-hour in a cruel and ironic extension of American slavery. Finally, we must be vigilant against any attempts to abuse or misuse any public health quarantine measures to criminalize Black and brown communities,” Mr. Robinson said.

Unprecedented uncertainty in U.S.
Indiana University Professor Dr. Edward Hirt told The Final Call the psychological implications of the novel coronavirus pandemic are immense and potentially dire, ranging from acute individual anxiety about possible symptoms and the necessity for social distancing to communitywide panic-buying of food, health care products and other staples of daily life as well as severe trauma caused when a loved one becomes ill or dies.

“This is unprecedented in terms of evoking uncertainty,” he said. “There’s definitely been a denial and forthrightness about the disease and its spread. Even if we’ve known about it, it’s though it was ‘over there.’ Things have just accelerated in an enormously quick time. Now we have to be vigilant about everything such as touching doorknobs and being close to people, isolation time and how long is the quarantine. It’s just craziness.”

Dr. Hirt, who has authored over 75 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has recently written a book titled “Self-Regulation and Ego Control,” thinks the shock will wear off and “then there’ll be panic.”

“The reality of this is sinking in. We have a little bit of time before people get despondent,” he predicted. “A lot of people are paranoid. People are already wondering how much longer they will be personally affected and what this all means. The vast majority are looking for reassurance from the administration.”

This period of downtime and social isolation could allow people to spend time outdoors, walk the dog, catch up on tasks and activities and reconnect with family, said Dr. Hirt, who has taught at IU since 1991.

“You should be thinking about other activities, just accept it and not fight,” he advised. “We’ve got to make the best of it, keep up with the news. I think people can switch to think beyond themselves.”

That acceptance comes as Broadway in New York, Disneyland and Disney World in Florida and the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court are closed. The travel industry has taken a beating on the Dow Jones stock exchange, with some cruise ships coming from abroad temporarily converted into quarantine holding facilities house infected passengers offshore. Meanwhile, air travel has dropped off precipitously.

Seeking certainty in an unsure world?


For Atlanta resident Shanice Bennerson, the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S. and the decision by the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global pandemic left her shaken.

“I am proceeding with caution because I am asthmatic and have no insurance,” said Ms. Bennerson, a Millennial whose regular job is in educational research. She also works part-time at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Alpharetta, Ga.

“Fulton County schools, with the highest number of students in the area at 450,000, is out and has switched to online classes,” she noted. “Dekalb County schools is extending spring break. Everything is in shambles. Grocery stores are crazy, markets are crazy, but a lot of people aren’t taking it seriously. I’ve been following what’s been going on in Italy. We’re only really two weeks in as the numbers started low and took off. This public health crisis is exposing the underbelly of classes here in a way that I didn’t expect at all. Everyone not wealthy in this country is about to be screwed.”

A South Asian student of an Ivy League school, who’s working on a Master of Fine Arts degree, spoke of the difficulty he’s experiencing trying to understand, anticipate and navigate the public health crisis. He and his fellow classmates were informed by email that there was a presumptive case of someone at the school with coronavirus which necessitated taking precautions initially, then taking classes online.

The student, who is seeking asylum and fearful retaliation, requested anonymity to speak freely. “What happens if I contract the virus? Who will take care of me? Who will feed me? Where do I quarantine myself and how? I have been here for a few years and have people who are like family but not family,” he said.

“I am employed by the university, work 20 hours a week and live check-to-check. My department is still paying me but after six months, what will I do? There’s a range of different people being affected and there’s a great deal of uncertainly for me and a lot of people.”

“It’s hugely polarizing. Rich, young White kids are partying and can go to the clinic and pay $1,300 for the test, while poor people are dependent on federal government decisions,” he said. “The amount of money Trump has spent propping up the stock market—$1.5 trillion—could pay off the student loan debt. This has proven to be socialism for the rich and not for the poor.”

Virus spreads amid failed federal response


As of March 15, the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, had infected 142,539 people around the world and killed 5,200 as the disease has spread to more than 100 different countries. Most of the deaths have been seniors and the elderly.

In the United States, there were 49 states with more than 5,200 confirmed cases. But public health officials, epidemiologists and other medical experts warn that there are likely far more cases that medical professionals aren’t aware of because of the scarcity of available coronavirus testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Part of the problem is that while tests kits from the WHO are widely available, the Trump administration wants to use test kits produced by American companies, a decision that has worsened an already difficult situation.

“There’s a shortage,” Dr. Howard Forman, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health and practicing radiologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, told Yahoo Finance’s “On the Move.”

“And it strikes at the heart of everything we’re doing right now that we cannot do the most simple thing, which is just to test people and find out whether they are positive or not,” he said.

Despite the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. occurred on Jan. 19, testing has lagged across the country. U.S. public health labs have picked up some slack, but health officials warn that the current pace of testing is not nearly enough.

According to the Atlantic, researchers “have concluded that thousands of Americans may have already been infected by the beginning of (March).” Between January 18 and March 10, there have been 11,079 tests for COVID-19 in the U.S. In comparison, South Korea has conducted over 100,000 tests.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told host Chuck Todd on March 15 on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Americans “should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing” to fight the growing coronavirus outbreak.

While several European countries are on lockdown to mitigate the crisis, Dr. Fauci said America should implement closures, especially “in those areas that have community spread.”

“Everybody has to get involved in distancing themselves socially. If you are in an area where there’s clear community spread, you have to be much, much more intense about how you do that,” he added. The goal now is to blunt the curve of confirmed cases and attempt to keep the number of those infected low enough that America’s hospital system isn’t overwhelmed, he said.

When asked if U.S. officials should consider a 14-day national shutdown as much of Europe has done, Dr. Fauci said: “I would prefer as much as we possibly could. I think we should really be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting.”

“If you let the curve get up there, then the entire society is going to be hit,” Dr. Fauci asserted.

Of all the Trump administration senior officials, Dr. Fauci has been the person most willing to speak clearly and honestly, while owning up to the federal government’s failings.

There is still no specific timeline for the ramping up of testing and increasing capacity, but Dr. Fauci announced during a press availability that the first human test of a novel coronavirus vaccine could begin in a few weeks, ahead of schedule, although he added it still could take as long as a year or 18 months before its available to the public. CNN reported March 16 that the first dose of the vaccine was given to a study participant in Washington state.

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

From The Final Call Newspaper

Min. Farrakhan reveals the true and full understanding of Jesus

By James G. Muhammad Contributing Editor @jgm3000 

MOSQUE MARYAM—To know and understand the reality of Jesus is the key to salvation for the human family suffering under the grip of Satan, but most people are looking for a Jesus of the past instead of the present day, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan told a capacity audience at Mosque Maryam that spilled into Muhammad University of Islam March 1 during a lecture titled “Jesus is the Key.”



Still recovering from delivering a three-and-one-half hour Saviours’ Day message in Detroit the previous Sunday, Min. Farrakhan delivered another more than two hour lecture laying out the prophecies of scripture and declaring that God would use Black people in America to demonstrate His power to destroy the wicked.

The Nation of Islam’s foundational teaching—that Allah (God) appeared in America in the person of Master Fard Muhammad— fulfilled the scripture that God would come Himself to save a people in bondage for 400 years, he said.

And like Moses and Aaron of the scripture, God would give the keys of power to two men to liberate the enslaved and to destroy the grip of Satan over the people of the world.

“God chose America to make Himself known,” the Minister said. “He chose America because the wicked rulers of America and this current world placed us in a condition that only God could solve. He wouldn’t send a prophet; He would come Himself to make Himself known to us (Black people) and through us to the entire planet.”



He said God’s plan was to allow Africans to come into the hands of White people and that Whites “would make us into themselves.” You have become little devils, he said.

God came “wearing three hats,” one for Himself, the power in which He would not reveal, and hats for two men from the people whom Whites had destroyed, he continued.

White religious scholars made the people think they are followers of Jesus Christ. The master deceiver made the people think they are followers of Moses and the Israelite prophets, and to put the icing on the cake, Satan took over Mecca, he said.

“He made Jewish devils, Muslim devils, Christian devils, Hindu devils and Buddhist devils. Look at the world. The world is in hell because Satan has become your master,” he said.

Response to charge of anti-Semitism

When the people come into the full understanding of Jesus, they will awaken at once, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad once told his top student Min. Farrakhan. What is it about the knowledge of Jesus that’s hidden from us, the Minister asked?

The historical Jesus of the Bible was a man of color and was hated by Jewish leadership, the Minister charged, the same Jewish leadership that has labeled him an anti-Semite despite any evidence promoting violence or hatred against Jews or any group of people. On the other hand, he explained that Jewish Talmudic writings has described Jesus as “a monkey.”

“What do White folks call you when they want to tease you,” he asked the audience? “They call you a monkey.”

He described a meeting at his Chicago home with top Jewish scholars where they laid out conditions for the Minister to gain their favor. During the meeting, some scholars invited the bold leader to speak in their synagogues and to speak before their executive council, an offer that was rescinded by chief Rabbi Herman Schaalman.

The Minister offered the rabbis the opportunity to speak at Mosque Maryam and to meet with his family, so they could determine for themselves if anti-Semitism was being taught.

During the meeting, Rabbi Schaalman told the Minister it wasn’t his place to criticize and correct Jewish behavior. “In other words, how dare you, nigga—underneath that’s what it’s all about—how dare you think you can criticize and correct us,” Min. Farrakhan explained.

The Minister responded with the parable of Lazarus who was prohibited by Prophet Abraham from giving comfort to the rich man who had died and was in hell.

“Are you telling me that if I came from God with a message for you that you would reject me because of my color and the wisdom that is in my mouth is for your salvation?” he revealed. “The same spirit that Rabbi Schaalman said to me, that’s the way they felt about Jesus who was their last prophet,” he told the audience.

Jesus of 2,000 years ago was only a prophet, the Minister reiterated. He was, as Paul said, a man born out of due season. The historical Jesus came to remind the Jews to cleanse themselves from their deviation from the law of Moses and the Israelite prophets, he said.

But there’s a prophetic Jesus called the Messiah that seventy-five percent of the New Testament is written of, Min. Farrakhan said. It is that Jesus that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. Government wanted to nullify in their Cointelpro attempts to destroy Black leadership, he said.

“Could it be that the Jesus you are looking for is hiding in plain sight?” he asked.

In the 1970s as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s national spokesperson, the Minister was given a topic for his national broadcast. The Minister attempted to make the message three times, but each time Mr. Muhammad told him he had missed the mark.

The Minister revealed that one of his helpers had found a copy of the original recording and upon review he realized he had been misstating the title of the topic.

You can’t give a man something to eat if on that point he ain’t hungry, he said, explaining that Mr. Muhammad was trying to get him to see something that he missed every time.

“I had been saying the title wrong, throwing myself off. When God is making a man, he has to be on time when he learns. The real subject was ‘On this man will I lay the key’ but I was saying ‘On this man have I laid the key,’” he said.

“That shows you how one word messing up the tense of the verb can throw you completely off. That’s why you are messed up over Jesus because you are looking in the past, and Jesus is walking in present time.

“Jesus is the key. Once you have the key, you can open doors that may have been shut to you,” he said.

The sure truth


Phumzile Mazibuko, Council General for the Republic of South Africa based in Chicago, attended the March 1 address and was honored to be present. “I represent South Africa in 14 states in the Midwest region. It’s an honor for us to attend the session today the lecture by Minister Farrakhan who has been a leader, who has always supported the struggle for the oppressed people of South Africa and even as we celebrate 25 years of freedom,” she told The Final Call. “We know as South Africans that we will always be grateful for the support of people who have supported the freedom of South Africans,” she said.

Abdul Rashid, 25 was invited to attend by a member of the Nation of Islam. Mr. Rashid is Latino and was grateful and inspired to also see and hear Student Minister Abel Muhammad who is of Mexican descent. “I decided to join the Nation because Allah (God) guided me here. I got married into a Muslim family and I was contemplating Islam for a long time since college, actually and it was just the natural progression,” he explained.

When asked to reflect on what he gleaned from Min. Farrakhan’s message, Ilia Rashad Muhammad, a member of the NOI Research Group and student in the ministry shared the following: “If I were to say it in a very short and simplistic way, I would say ‘Jesus live and in present time’ because what the Minister shared both in his words and in his history is the life of that messianic figure that we all read about. A messianic figure who is characterized mostly by his willingness to call out the most powerful satanic forces of the world and at the same time while fighting Satan raise his dead people to life with The Supreme Wisdom.”

He added, “So you have a man who has to be prepared by God in order to take on such a task, let alone complete such a task. What we have in the Minister and his words today was absolutely messianic in nature.”

Bearers of witness


Before Min. Farrakhan even took to the stage to address the thousands gathered at Mosque Maryam the audience was prepped by student ministers with encouraging words taught to them by their teacher.

Student Minister Daniel X emphasized the importance of having love while developing safe and decent communities stating that the Minister is the prime example of love.

Student Minister Tony Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit and Student Minister Kenya Muhammad of Chicago spoke about the powerful presence and influence of Min. Farrakhan. Student Min. Troy Muhammad poignantly spoke on the words of Min. Farrakhan piercing his soul when he was incarcerated in prison.

“The power of God is so strong in the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that he is now backed by God and His Christ and he literally represents the presence of God in our midst today,” said Sister Kenya Muhammad.

“Sister Kenya is not here of herself. I am one person, but I represent many more Muslims who follow the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. I represent many more young people who hear the truth coming from his mouth and agree that we can follow a man that not only talks the talk but walks the walk, and I am here representing many more women and I am a reminder of the scriptures, brothers and sisters, when it talked about Jesus on the cross.”

Nation of Islam European Region Representative Student Minister Abdul Hakeem Muhammad furthered Sis. Kenya’s point with his own testimony. “I was blessed to be in Holland approximately six weeks ago as a guest of the study group coordinators in Holland. And before they brought me up to speak, they were opening up just like they open up here in Chicago, in New York, in Philadelphia, in Houston, in Los Angeles, in San Francisco and I didn’t train these brothers! They were trained from the tapes of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan!” he said.

“So my job is one of discovery, my job is to go throughout Europe and find the followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and connect them to him because they are already there.”

Student Minister Abel Muhammad discussed the universal message in the words of the Minister. He serves as the Latino representative of the Nation of Islam.

“I’m not here before you as a Mexican, I’m not here before you as someone who hates Puerto Ricans or hates Black people, I’m someone among you who is learning to love myself and love my brother and my sister as I love myself because I am being taught by the man and we’re going to be taught by the man today who has the keys to remove from us the false lenses of White supremacy,” said Student Minister Abel Muhammad.

Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad prepared listeners for the powerful message they were about to hear from Min. Farrakhan.

“God is going to speak to you where you are personally,” he said, “as an individual in your space, in your place, in your corner. God is going to speak to you and me—watch, watch—because Allah is the All-Hearer and He knows what you want but He really knows what you need and God always suffices needs before wants are satisfied,” he said before introducing Min. Farrakhan.— Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad, J.A. Salaam and Final Call staff contributed to this report.

[Read the center article for excerpts from Min. Farrakhan’s March 1 message and visit noi.org to view the entirety of his messages from Saviours’ Day parts 1 and 2.]