Special Announcement:

Muhammad's Study Group of Rockford, Illinois morns the passing of our Student MGT/GCC Coordinator, Sister Rahsheemah X.
May Allah be Pleased with our Beloved Sister.
All Praise is due to Allah!

Sis Rahsheemah X
January 16, 1975 - August 31, 2019


AUDIO REPLAY (8-11-2019): Rockford's Nation of Islam Student Minister, Yahcolyah Muhammad, speaks on the subject of "The Day of Separation," in which he identifies the scriptural justification for doing so from both the Bible and Holy Qur'an; how America fulfills the role of 'Mystery Babylon' as noted in the Book of Revelations, and how such prophecies are relevant to not only the descendants of the Western Hemisphere's enslaved Africans, but specifically to their descendants in the United States. Further explaining that the Black man of America will never be respected until he becomes a landowner, a producer and an employer of others, he challenges his audience to change their thinking regarding the nature of the hereafter and to start building heaven on earth while they live because after death it will be too late (click link above to listen).

"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

For more information: Call (815) 742-6758

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


From The Final Call Newspaper

Race, Class and Privilege and the NFL’s Unresolved Issues

By Barrington M. Salmon Contributing Writer @bsalmondc

See Also
Dreads, Super Bowl tickets and a tricky start to NFL-Roc Nation community partnership

“I’m not going to stand to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black People and People of Color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish for me to look the other way.” —Colin Kaepernick

Perhaps it was inevitable that the National Football League would not be immune to the raw, angry clashes around race that have exploded into super bursts of toxic energy around the country particularly since wannabe cop George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.

San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick take a knee during the National Anthem prior to their game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte North Carolina, Sept. 18, 2016. Photo: MGN Online

Sports, we’re told, is the great equalizer. On the field, they intone, race doesn’t matter, only athletic prowess, hard work and the devotion to winning. But this truism is as false as a $3 dollar bill, as illustrated by the NFL’s reaction to Colin Kaepernick’s fateful decision to kneel before a preseason game in August 2016. His gesture demonstrated his opposition to the second class treatment of Black people, racial injustice and condemnation of a society which condones police brutality and the extra-judicial murders of Black men, women and children.

Since then, the former San Francisco quarterback has been banished by owners of the NFL’s 32 teams, ostracized by some fellow players and shunned because of a principled stance against the laundry list of racial- and racist-inspired challenges that confront Blacks in America. He has also won the admiration of many, inspired a movement, was offered a Nike deal, continued his activism and forced the league to settle and pay him as part of a labor dispute. He still doesn’t have a job in the NFL.

Despite NFL team owners antagonizing, threatening and bullying players who knelt in solidarity, spoke out or displayed other forms of civil disobedience—and President Donald Trump jumping in to disparage and insult the Black players and changing the narrative of the real reasons for the protests—the issue hasn’t gone away.

Color of Change is just one of a number of social justice organizations that have supported Mr. Kaepernick since he began his protest. Executive Director Rashad Robinson said Mr. Kaepernick has played a vital role in pushing forward the struggle for racial equality, fairness and justice.

“Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter activists have opened up the movement and engaged to change written and unwritten rules,” he told The Final Call in a recent interview. “We’ve been really engaged. We’ve done work to push corporations to respond and support Kaepernick and Eric Reid. We’ve gotten members of Color of Change to give visible support. We’ve fought back in the media on behalf of Kaepernick and other players and offered other support with op-eds.”

“We feel that we have to leverage these movements for system change. That’s our goal.”

There have been noticeable impacts on the NFL because of the player protest movement. The subsequent public boycott of the NFL by those supporting Mr. Kaepernick—who last played for the San Francisco 49ers—has hurt revenue, reduced viewership and tarnished the brand.

Fans who support Mr. Kaepernick have refused to watch games, attendance has fallen and big money entertainers refused to be a part of the NFL’s signature Super Bowl 2019 halftime show as the league refused to allow Mr. Kaepernick—who despite his age is still considered an elite quarterback—to vie for and take his place on a team.

At its start in the first year, more than 200 football players joined Mr. Kaepernick in kneeling or engaging in other forms of silent protest. But over time, the numbers have dwindled, with players like Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid and now-Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills being the most outspoken supporters of Mr. Kaepernick and articulators of the protestors’ positions.

Mr. Robinson and other social justice warriors understand and acknowledge how formidable an adversary the NFL is. It’s a $75 billion behemoth promoting the most popular sport in America and the 32 owners wield considerable power. But as several interviewees noted, the players don’t realize the strength they have because the NFL would not and could not function without their participation.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (15) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sept. 9, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Photo: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

“This was a golden opportunity missed,” said Gary Johnson, founder and publisher of Black Men in America, a premier online magazine. “One Sunday, just one Sunday, if all or most of the players sat down, it would change everything … it would ripple around the whole country.”

Mr. Johnson’s son Chris agreed.

“The players don’t understand the power they have. They are the billion-dollar product. Until those seats are empty, the owners won’t get it,” said the younger Mr. Johnson, a political commentator and musician.

For three years, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell searched in vain for ways to silence the protestors and turn the page on the social justice demonstrations. He now believes he’s found the perfect tool.

Enter Jay-Z.

The billionaire entertainer and mogul recently joined Mr. Goodell a few weeks ago to announce a collaboration that names Roc Nation as the league’s official live music entertainment strategists. As part of the deal, Roc Nation will spearhead and advise the NFL on artist selection for music performances, including the extremely popular Super Bowl halftime show. In addition, Roc Nation is supposed to also work on the league’s social justice platform called Inspire Change. The initiative, launched earlier this year, aims to address the criminal justice reform, police and community relations, education and economic advancement.

But the partnership has triggered fierce pushback and invited deepening public skepticism that the collaboration is nothing more than a camouflage and a not-too-subtle way to let the NFL off the hook.

“It’s a little bit of a smokescreen,” sports lawyer and businessman Michael Huyghue told The Final Call. “Top athletes were refusing to perform. The real damage was not the issues surrounding the protests, the real issue was drawing top performers. Bringing Jay-Z in is a way to make performers feel more comfortable, and by the way, ‘we’ll deal with social issues too.’ ”

In actuality, Mr. Huyghue explained, the NFL has no platform on how it will specifically deal with the social justice issues raised by Mr. Kaepernick, and Jay-Z doesn’t have any real civil rights or social justice background to offer the type of depth and expertise needed to foster real and significant change.

Longtime human rights Attorney Nicole C. Lee described the NFL-Jay Z issue as “simple and complicated,” adding that the NFL has shown no sincerity or desire to address the issues Mr. Kaepernick has raised. The larger issue, she contends, is the attempted muzzling of Black athletes and a denial of their constitutional right to free speech.

“The protest was about the treatment of African Americans by police. The support of Kaepernick is this issue but it’s also about how talented athletes and entertainers are treated as if they’re owned,” said Ms. Lee, co-founder of the Black Movement Law Project, principal of the Lee Bayard Group and former president of TransAfrica. “They’re not allowed to express their individual agency. The NFL is bypassing putting Kaepernick on a team and going to Jay-Z. Goodell bypassed the issue and went to Jay-Z. He basically said, ‘See, I got my African American, people like him.’ ”

“I think it’s actually simple and complicated,” continued Ms. Lee, a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, leadership coach, nationally recognized speaker. “People are still upset with Jay-Z’s move because Kaepernick still has not found a team. The fact that Kaepernick isn’t on a team indicates that the NFL is digging its heels and punishing speech. Black folks are penalized when they speak out. The NFL can have Jay-Z but having him will not change the situation or circumstances. People will continue to be pissed off. This is not going away.”

William “Billy” Hunter, former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), said he hasn’t followed everything that’s been going on in the NFL-Kaepernick imbriglio, but offered his perspective. Despite Jay-Z agreeing to work with the NFL, the issues that led to the player protest are still very present and unresolved, he said.

And the length and intensity of any protests or pushback “depends on the reaction you get from the Black community and players. If they decide that Kap hasn’t gotten justice, this will continue,” the former union head said of the public boycott. “The NFL was beginning to feel impact and Jay-Z gives them assurance that everything is alright.”

Mr. Hunter, a longtime attorney who played for the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins, said it isn’t helpful that football players have split into different factions.

“The Players Coalition kinda hurts what Kap and others are trying to do because they took money,” he said of the $89 million the coalition of current players accepted from the owners for social justice programs. “The problem is that with the movement, the question is how many people would go with management. When I was with the NBAPA, (Commissioner David) Stern told me that he always had spies. The players are often insecure. They are the ones who might benefit the most but they don’t make as much as basketball players and don’t have guaranteed contracts. They won’t play for more than three or four years unless you have a breakout career.”

In all America’s other sports, the master-slave attitude persists, Mr. Hunter said.

“We had some knockdown dragouts because of this attitude. They expect that,” he said of the owners. “There are a lot of the vestiges of old days. David Stern was a lot more progressive, but the assumption is that if you have money people are supposed to bend or genuflect.”

Trade unionist, columnist and activist Bill Fletcher, Jr. said the Kaepernick protest overlaps as a social justice issue as well as a test of whether these athletes have a right to protest.

“It’s about the right to be protected in protesting which is an athlete’s right,” he said. “This is a stand against hypocrisy.”

Mr. Fletcher said he has had discussions with key people in the NFL Players’ Association and two issues surfaced: Mr. Kaepernick began his initial protest without informing them and that association leadership would only intervene if he gave the nod; and that NFLPA members were not unified on Mr. Kaepernick’s stand because of the split between conservative and left-wing members.

“I would have told Kaepernick to follow the Curt Flood model because he got player support as he fought for free agency,” said Mr. Fletcher, former president of the TransAfrica Forum and author of “They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 Other Myths About Unions.” “I would also recommend that he build a strategy committee who was prepared to back him. Instead, he encountered periods of isolation. This needed to be a campaign. He was left standing by himself when he was expecting people to support him.

“Kaepernick taking this step by himself was noble and courageous but not strategic.”

Both Mr. Fletcher and Marc Bayard, a leading expert on racial equity and organizing strategies, cited the need for the NFL and individual owners to develop comprehensive education programs for the players on matters of race in America.

“In the past 2-3 years, I’ve had conversations with the staff at the NFLPA and the political realm has gone from typical bread-and-butter issues of better wages, concussion and safety to free agency,” said Mr. Bayard, an associate fellow and the director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Black Worker Initiative and the founding executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University. “They are well-versed in dealing with traditional issues but in an era of overt political issues, we all have room to grow. It’s incumbent of the league to have education and training on hot button issues to understand the nature of issues such as the policy around police brutality. I also believe that the symbolism and importance of players educating the public on social issues is critical.”

Rally in support of Colin Kaepernick at Soldier Field in Chicago Sept. 10, 2017.

Harold Bell, long considered the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, D.C., said Mr. Kaepernick’s work is in the longtime tradition of athletes who’ve spoken out. Yet despite the millions of dollars football players make, they are sometimes little more than what sportswriter, author and former New York Times columnist William Rhoden called “billion dollar slaves.”

“This is about how the One Percent controls us; it’s all about divide and conquer,” said Mr. Bell, who created “Inside Sports” in 1972 and who was talking about racism in the NFL, drug use among athletes and other sensitives issues on his radio and television shows decades ago. “When people say sports and politics don’t mix, I say they gotta be crazy. This war has been going on for a long, long time. Jack Johnson, Jesse Owens and Paul Robeson are all strong Black men who stood up but got knocked down.”

Mr. Bell echoed other interviewees who acknowledged that the NFL player protest movement sits at the nexus of sports, race and activism. It’s not a new phenomenon, with athletes in the past like Muhammad Ali refusing to be inducted into the U.S. military to fight in Vietnam, and others like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jim Brown, Tommie Smith and John Carlos protesting racism and other racially connected social ills in the 1960s.

But in this case, the players’ opposition to police brutality, institutional racism and oppression had been co-opted by President Donald Trump and others and twisted into criticism of cops, the military, respect for law and order, the appropriateness of protest and patriotism.

“NFL owners have been very embarrassed by this. They would like to do something but they’re afraid of Trump,” Mr. Fletcher said. “You have to look at this at the level of politics. If you don’t organize, it’s very likely that you’ll fail.”

No matter the NFL does, those interviewed said, none believed the collaboration will have any real and lasting effect on the protests that continue unabated as Blacks and others push back against anti-Black racism, police brutality, extra-judicial killings and the increase in nativism, White extremism and hate crimes. What is acknowledged but often ignored too is the fact that the NFL has a White male dominated, conservative, reactionary ownership structure, no Black majority owners and a league where about 70 percent of the players are Black.

“I wonder how long is that going to work; how long is it going to last?” Ms. Lee asked of the Jay-Z and NFL deal. “It may not matter in the short or medium term. Jay-Z has shown he’s fine with capitalism, with being the only Black in the room. The reality is we’re pushing society to be more just. I’m not going to look into the intent of other folks, but I don’t think Jay-Z’s talking about radical change and radical change is needed to change the circumstances of Black people.”

From The Final Call Newspaper

Disasters gather, plague America

By Brian E. Muhammad Staff Writer @globalpeeks |

Warnings, preparation and states of emergencies were declared by the governors of Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina as Hurricane Dorian was expected to slam into the United States southeastern coastline and travel northbound along the coast after leaving behind devastation in the Bahamas.

People cut away a tree that landed on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Oct. 11, 2018. Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

At Final Call presstime, a “cone of uncertainty” traveled up the Atlantic Ocean spinning its way toward America at a time of increasing calamities. The entire state of Florida was put on alert as people rushed to board up houses, businesses and other structures. Gas had to be trucked in from nearby states as pumps ran dry with Floridians filling their tanks and bracing for any possible evacuation. Uncertainty as to the exact path of the hurricane had weather experts unsure of exactly where it would strike and do the most damage. However, said experts, the damage and aftermath was of great concern.

President Donald Trump promised the “best people” were in place for the disaster, but admitted the odds seemed to be in favor of substantial destruction. “Should Hurricane Dorian strengthen into a Category 4 storm and come ashore on Florida’s Atlantic coast, it will be the strongest hurricane to hit the state’s eastern coast in nearly 30 years. Since the late 1800s, only eight Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes have made landfall on Florida’s east coast. With Hurricane Dorian forecast to become a Category 4 storm as it makes its approach, it may become the ninth. The last hurricane of this magnitude to hit Florida was Hurricane Andrew, which hit 27 years prior in 1992,” reported Accuweather. Andrew caused between $25.3 billion and $32 billion in destruction for Florida and was the most expensive hurricane to hit Florida when it struck. Sixty-five people were reported dead.

The U.S. should expect multiple days of danger from Hurricane Dorian reported The Weather Channel. “Regardless of the track, high surf and coastal flooding will be an issue,” the network reported. The flooding was expected to affect areas most prone to it including Virginia Tidewater, southern Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware Bay, parts of the Jersey Shore, Long Island Sound and coastal eastern New England. Even if Dorian spares America a direct hit, it will still be damaging. AccuWeather estimates the total damage and economic loss would be $8-10 billion.

“Much of those costs are a result of losses to the travel and tourism industry, including canceled vacations, canceled flights, lost revenue to hotels, cruise lines diverted, and expenses in preparation for the storm. Possible flooding and storm surge to coastal areas in the Southeast will also be a factor. Citrus crop and vegetable damages could also occur,” noted accuweather.com. Over 1,100 flights had been cancelled as of Sept. 2 and three of Florida’s airports had shut down. Over one million people across at least three states had been ordered to evacuate their homes.

As states braced themselves, people also have to adjust themselves for the event and the aftermath. “I would say that it’s never too late to start to prepare yourself and your family. Having a little something is better than having nothing,” said Alva Muhammad, a Chicago-based disaster preparedness instructor.

“It’s only going to get worse …not better. We’re never going to have a time when there will be no extreme weather,” she explained.

With disasters striking with more frequency and intensity, many wonder why America seems to be suffering from acts of God and wonder if there is any prospect for relief?

For decades the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam and his national representative, Minister Louis Farrakhan, have warned God has weaponized weather and is using it to chastise America for past and present injustices against the Black descendants of slaves and the Indigenous people which the country has decimated.

“The forces of nature are great weapons as we see them in play upon America,” said Elijah Muhammad in his book The Fall of America, published in 1973.

“Watch the weather,” Minister Farrakhan has repeatedly warned. “God doesn’t fight with your cheap weapons! God fights with the forces of nature: rain, hail, snow, wind, drought. He uses the insects and the animals and turns nature against you. You can’t win in a war against God.”

The United States is number one on God’s list to be destroyed and severe weather will be used to help bring the country down, according to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Others connect the disasters to global climate change.

Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Oct. 11, 2018. Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

A May 2018 Pew Research paper said a majority of Americans believe global warming is manmade and the federal government has been neglectful in combatting climate change.

Pew said 53 percent of Americans say the earth is getting warmer mostly due to human activity like burning fossil fuels. However, roughly 29 percent attribute the warming to “natural patterns” in the earth’s environment and another 17 percent say there is no solid evidence of global warming.

The report said 69 percent of Americans feel vital resources like water are not adequately protected and 65 percent believe the same about air quality. Overall 67 percent said the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change.

Over the last year America was afflicted by deadly wildfires on the West Coast, and bone numbing cold from a Northeastern vortex gripped New York on the East Coast after sweeping the Midwest, affecting Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. In addition to fires and the bitter cold, havoc making tornadoes crisscrossed America and menacing floods further compromised aging infrastructure.

With great loss of property and lives, the financial toll disasters take on America is steep, according to a 2019 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information report that tracks the costs of weather and climate disasters.

The center said as of July, 2019 there were six weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across America. These events resulted in 15 deaths and had significant economic impact. Since 1980, America has experienced 250 disasters at a cost of $1.7 trillion.

In light of Trump administration slashing of the Department of Homeland Security budget that oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency, financial aid to states already hit by disasters is being affected.

Two years after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas, federal assistance has not fully arrived.

“We lost over 300,000 housing units. Two years later we are still waiting for the federal resources to do flood mitigation projects,” said Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad, Southwest Regional Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and student minister of Mosque No. 45 in Houston.

Minister Haleem Muhammad told The Final Call the business and philanthropic community raised over $110 million in the aftermath of the 2017 disaster while people waited for FEMA money. “Though Houston rebounded faster than most areas hit by disasters, we still have a long way to go,” he said.

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month to emphasize the need for disaster and emergency planning.

The 2019 theme is “Prepared, Not Scared” and is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security “Ready Campaign” to educate and empower Americans to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and manmade disasters.

Professional practitioners of disaster management said the public and Black people, especially, are not prepared for disasters.

With millions of people living in vulnerable coastal cities on the Southeast border of the United States, aid and assistant groups like the American Red Cross were prepared for the disaster before it arrived.

While Dorian was still wrecking destruction in the Caribbean, some 2,600 people stayed in 60 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida.

“We are mobilizing over 1,600 trained volunteers from all over the country, 110 emergency response vehicles, and 99 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies, including cots, blankets and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals,” Jenelle Eli, American Red Cross director of international communications told the Final Call in an email.

Ms. Eli explained that Red Cross shelters are open to everyone , and all disaster assistance is free. It doesn’t require people to show any kind of identification to enter a shelter— just their name and pre-disaster address.

“You have to be aware before you can begin to prepare,” said Yusef Muhammad, past president of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters. “Many of our people wait until the last minute to prepare—if at all,” he said.

Yusef Muhammad offered steps to prepare for disasters: (1) Get informed; (2) Develop a plan: (3) Have a survivors kit for your home and a “go to bag” of essentials for each person in your family in case you must evacuate; (4) Periodically reassess the plan and the kit.

Mosques, churches and organizations can team up with local Emergency Management offices and fire departments where courses and training are offered to become part of a Community Emergency Response Team.

“It’s really about networking … because all of us can’t do everything, but if we know who’s doing what in terms of their expertise … we can help each other save lives,” said Yusef Muhammad.

Alva Muhammad agreed. She said people must think about being prepared for long term survival. “We have to grow our own food and preserve our own food,” she said. “We have to be prepared for a time when there are no modern services and it is just us, until we can take our rightful place.” She told The Final Call that along with stocking up on water, food and first-aid supplies people should learn medical skills.

While the physical toll of damage is readily assessed, the psychological and spiritual damage caused by disasters must also be considered. There are actions that can be taken to promote mental stability in time of disaster, say experts.

Looking after vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly, and maintaining calm are key.

“Another one is self and collective advocacy … focusing on the fact that there are things that we can do on our own and in collaboration with our family members, neighbors … to try to maintain as much normalcy in our lives as possible,” said Dr. Annelle Primm, chair of the All Healers Mental Health Alliance, a national network of mental health professionals, health advocates, first responders and faith leaders.

Dr. Primm said keeping a sense of hope, maintaining connectedness and avoiding isolation are important. “Keeping all those things in mind as we and our families anticipate disaster is important (and) will help to guide our actions,” she said.

Most Americans are economically ill equipped to handle a crisis, according to the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, an annual report issued by the Federal Reserve. Four in 10 adults, if faced with an unexpected expense of $400, would either not be able to cover it or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money, the report said.

Such people would especially be ill-prepared to care for themselves and their families in the wake of a disaster. Blacks, who lag behind economically, often fare worse in times of emergency, not being financially able to withstand a disaster.

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘Black people are born traumatized’

By Bryan 18X Crawford Contributing Writer @Mr.Craw4D

Many Black men and women today understand the social climate they’re living in. It’s a time when tension between Black and White grows more intense with each day. Where current administration policies, combined with centuries of systemic abuse and mistreatment by law enforcement and the judicial system, seems to have altered the way Black people think and behave.

Some feel an intense anger and distrust that can manifest itself into extreme aggression and violence, causing them to lash out at anyone in front of them.

Others may find themselves stuck with intense feelings of sadness and despair that can manifest itself in all kinds of negative, dangerous and detrimental behaviors.

While many may dismiss these things as just stresses associated with being Black in America, from a scientific perspective, the problem is much deeper and goes back more than 500 years.

The definition of epigenetics reads as follows: “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.”

In more simplified terms, epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that alter genes, and those alterations can be passed down from one person to the next for generations.

When you consider the horrors of slavery, combined with the modernized version of a slave-like existence that Black people continue to live under today, for all intents and purposes, “Black people are essentially born traumatized and have been for centuries,” said Dr. Kenneth Nave, a Chicago-based internist. “Epigenetics means beyond genetics, so to speak. This isn’t fringe science. This is solid, well-documented science on how environmental pathology impacts cellular mechanics at the epigenetic level.”

Dr. Nave has dedicated years of his professional life to this study. “What scientists have found is sufferers of environmental trauma experience a change in genetic functions that are directly related to the epi gene; which sends precursors for change to the gene through an enzymatic process that attaches a protein to certain genes, changing the way they function,” he said.

Dr. Nave explained that once a person finds him or herself in a particular environment and experiences certain traumas, that individual is classified as “Person Zero,” and the cellular and genetic changes that individual experiences, can then be passed down to their progeny, or descendants. The key thing to understand is that even though those altered genes have been passed down, they remain dormant until something triggers them to wake up. Once that happens, not only does it affect a change in that person, but if he or she has children, now they will be affected because of the conditions that trigger these altered genes to wake up.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics just put out an article that talks about how racism has a tremendous effect, in utero, on women who are pregnant and how it affects the children in terms of certain stressors being passed on, and also the long-term effects when they become adults and these stressors creating disorders related to trauma. This includes diabetes, hypertension, and certain forms of cancer,” Dr. Patricia Newton, CEO and Medical Director of Black Psychologists of America, told The Final Call. “Men who have been affected to trauma over a period of time, their RNA genes become altered. In men, an altered RNA gene can lead to the transmission of the effects of their trauma, which can include depression and other anxiety disorders being passed down.”

Dr. Newton says a majority of Black people are born with the effects of trauma that date back hundreds of years. However, she qualified that statement by saying that while some Black people’s neurological makeup can make them more resilient to generational traumas being passed down genetically, the reality is that if you’re a Black person living in the United States of America and other places where Black people face continued harsh discrimination and racialized traumas, there is a high probability those people, or their parents have been traumatized; creating a system of genetic alterations that the average person doesn’t realize or even understand that they have.

But the irony is that epigenetic changes doesn’t just affect Black people, it can also affect White people as well; but in a different way.

Pamoja Tutashinoh dances in the middle of a circle during the parade of flags and drum call at the First African Landing Commemorative Ceremony in Hampton, Va., on Aug. 24. Photo: AP Daniel Linhart/The Daily Press via

“Epigenetics also affects Europeans,” Dr. Newton explained. “Many people of European descent do not understand the complexities of life as it relates to Black people. Many of them aren’t necessarily in favor of the racialized violence they see manifested and carried out by their own people. But when they do, it alters the behavior patterns of a generation. So now what we see is a surge of young, White males committing mass shootings and mass murderers. We have a population of young White people being impacted by the racialized violence they see and it’s altering the nature of their behavior and its manifesting in the form of increased aggressiveness and hostility toward non-White people. And this is altering the nature of the people being victimized by this.”

When you understand the traumas that Black people have suffered during the times of slavery, up to present day when images of Black people being victims of racialized violence in the form of police shootings, or seeing children crying for their parents who were arrested in immigration raids and their families being separated, all of this has long-term, damaging effects on the psyche.

But it goes even deeper than that.
The negative changes people experience as a result of epigenetic trauma can be exacerbated by the foods they eat and the environment they may live in.

“When you talk about exposure to pesticides in foods and how those things are related to obesity and other health issues Black people deal with, or exposure to heavy metals like lead and cadmium which are very high in Black communities, which leads to an increase in violence and other psychotic episodes; nobody is talking about this and there is a direct correlation between these things,” Dr. Nave explained. “I believe it’s intentional,” he said, adding, “If I can easily go and get all of the literature on this information, there’s no way that powers greater than myself doesn’t have access to even higher levels of information on stuff like this. They have groups and teams of people studying this stuff at the Pentagon and all these other high government offices, so they know what’s happening to people on an epigenetic level.”

But, as complex as this problem seems to be, the question is can it be reversed? Can Black people somehow re-alter their genetic codes so that these traumas don’t continue to be passed down from one generation to the next? The answer is as complex as the epigenetic science. The short answer is that yes, it is possible to break the cycle so to speak. But in order to do that, there would have to be a total shift and transformation to the world at large; something that very few people see happening any time soon.

“We live in a systemic system designed on racism, designed on violence, designed on the need to oppress people of color and dehumanize them. Having said that, we need to continue working together and as people of African descent, we have got to stop fighting each other. We have to stop being so violent and impatient with each other,” Dr. Newton explained. “We have to demonstrate more love amongst ourselves as a nurturing buffer, and we have to create coalitions with organizations so we can protect our young people. We need to advocate for our communities to be protected by us. We need more Black people on the police board in our cities. We need to have systems that don’t victimize our children because as a result of this racialized trauma, and the trauma we inflict on each other in our communities, we no longer have a safe haven for our children. They’re not safe at home, they’re not safe in school, they’re not safe in the streets, and they’re not safe in our faith-based and religious institutions.”

Still, there are steps that can be taken at an individual level that could prove to be beneficial as Blacks continue to deal with increasing external and societal pressures and traumas that have had a negative and long-lasting impact on Black people.

“The biggest way that I see on reversing transgenerational epigenetic disease is you have to stop eating all the processed foods we’ve gotten accustomed to eating. Certain micro-nutritional foods that increases folates can comprehensively change the nutritional environment that can then change how you deal with the external environment we live in,” Dr. Nave explained. “The other thing is rest. We don’t get enough rest in the Black community. I don’t understand why Black people in our communities want to be up all the time. We have to get our people on strict diets and make them get their rest. When you sleep, your body heals and your brain heals. We have to change our basic lifestyles and when we do that, our bodies will heal mentally and physically.”