Thursday, December 1, 2011


Spiritual, physical training aid MGT Vanguard in triathlon

Ready for competition!!!

Tiffany Muhammad (left), Lissa Muhammad (right) display their

name badges.

Tiffany Muhammad and Lissa Muhammad are citizens of the National of Islam and attend Muhammad Mosque #54 in Los Angeles and #27 in Compton, respectively. Both were blessed to attend the 2011 M.G.T. and G.C.C. Vanguard Retreat in Bloomingdale, Illinois September 8-11. The following week, they also participated in the 25th Annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 17-18. They were among 1,300 women and girls who attended the Vanguard Retreat to train and elevate in their divine mission to become the women of God. While in Malibu, California, they summoned that training to help them complete the triathlon event course, which consisted of a half-mile ocean swim, 18-mile bike ride and a four-mile run. Their efforts combined with more than 5,000 athletes to help raise $1.1 million for pediatric cancer research. The dedicated wives and mothers shared with me their triathlon experience and the impact that the Vanguard Retreat bore on their ability to complete the course. I found such inspiration in their efforts. I pray that you do too!!

Tiffany Muhammad

On September 17, 2011 sister Lissa and myself were blessed by Allah to finish the Nautica Malibu Olympic Distance Triathlon. This Triathlon consisted of swimming .9 miles (in the ocean), biking 24 miles and running 6 miles. This experience was extremely, physically vigorous and exhausting. In my opinion ultimate endurance challenges like the Triathlon are more of a mental challenge as opposed to a physical challenge. Obviously, you have to physically train your body and build up the stamina. However, mentally, you have to have the confidence that you can be successful. Your mental focus is the outcome determinative.

This is where being a M.G.T. and G.C.C. Vanguard gains the advantage.

Allah would have it where I was still spiritually miles “high” off the Vanguard Retreat experience. This sealed the deal mentally for me. At the retreat, we were reacquainted with the purpose of our class. As the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has taught us, “Vanguard is the warrior class of the M.G.T. and G.C.C. The forward group in protection, defense and security of sisters.” I left the retreat feeling as if I was “born again.” To feel like you have a divine purpose is the most exhilarating emotion. Therefore, mentally I had already finished the race before the sound of the gun shot off to begin.

I know for an actual fact that I would have never been able to finish six marathons and now a triathlon if it were not for the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. This divine revelation makes explicit that human beings must eat to live and keep their bodies active to prolong their lives. Brother Jabril Muhammad told me that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad once stated that, he (the Honorable Elijah Muhammad) wished that the sisters were in shape well enough that they could run from his house to the airport. That has always motivated me. The rewards and satisfaction earned from challenging yourself mentally with physical activity are plentiful. Personally, it helped me focus to finish a Master’s degree, a Law degree and much more.

As a M.G.T. and G.C.C. Vanguard, I strive to be righteous, supremely disciplined and supremely physically fit. The Minister’s passion in his talk with the Vanguard at the farm and during Sunday’s address was so lifting, I feel like I can do anything.

Lissa Muhammad

This experience extended the spiritual high that I had coming off the Vanguard Retreat. After hearing the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speak the previous weekend, I felt renewed. In the days leading up to the 25th Annual Nautica Malibu Olympic Distance Triathlon, I experienced a level of strength, confidence and PEACE (especially during my ocean swim) that I was NEVER able to achieve during the time I spent training leading up to this point. This was NEVER to be done as an act of vanity. I submitted all that I had to Allah, which in turn left NO DOUBT in my mind that He would be with me every step of the way. This is what helped me push through and endure. I bear witness that Allah answers him who praises Him! Allah was definitely (and continues to be) at the forefront of this Vanguard's thoughts and actions!!

I began running in 2005 after giving birth to my third child (I am the mother of two girls and two boys). I've run 5Ks (3.1 miles) to marathons (26.2 miles) and just about everything in between. Just 3 years ago on my 30th birthday, I ran my first marathon. I have completed four marathons to date. The next year in 2009, I bought my bike as another birthday gift to myself. I didn't learn how to swim until March of this year (AFTER I had already signed up and agreed to participate in this event with Sister Tiffany).

This is my and Sister Tiffany’s first triathlon, but NOT my last! I'm already looking for our next one!! I thank Allah for Sister Tiffany and her soldier spirit for inviting me to come along with her on this journey and all of our family and friends who helped support us and sent their warm words of encouragement and congratulations. May the Peace and Mercy of Allah be with you all!! I pray that our experience will inspire others to join us in the future.




Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Minister Farrakhan speaks on death of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi on WVON-AM today 

The Nation of Islam
For Immediate Release                                                                              
October 25, 2011
Contact: Richard Muhammad 312 480 9775
Farrakhan Speaks on death of Libya’s
Muammar Gadhafi on WVON-AM today
On Tuesday, October 25, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam, is scheduled to discuss the recent killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and Western action and policy toward the North African country on the Cliff Kelly Show over the airwaves of WVON-AM 1690, Chicago's Black talk radio station, between 4 pm and 6 pm Central Time. 
The media is invited to attend and submit questions to host Cliff Kelley for Minister Farrakhan to address on-air. Interview requests are also being accepted at this time. Accredited media should arrive by 3 pm to be in place for the live radio broadcast. The WVON studios are located at 1000 East 87th Street Chicago.
WVON radio airs on the web @  
A round table discussion of U.S. policy and developments in Libya will follow from 6 pm to 7 pm, and include noted activists, Pan Africanist and human rights  advocates. The media is invited to attend. After the segment with Min. Farrakhan, the on-air panel discussion about Libya will include Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam; Zaki Baruti of the Universal African Peoples Organization; Ali Baghdadi of the Arab Journal; Conrad Worrill of the National Black United Front; and activist Pat Hill of Black People Against Torture.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nation of Islam General Counsel sends letter to Bureau of Prisons; opposes request made by Reps. Wolf and King 

[Blogger's Note: On July 5, 2011, Rep. Frank R. Wolf and Rep. Peter King sent a letter to Dr. Thomas R. Kane, the Bureau of Prisons Acting Director, to request the removal of all "Nation Of Islam" materials from U.S. prisons. This is something that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan forewarned was coming in his March 10 radio interview on the Cliff Kelley Show in Chicago. On July 8, Nation of Islam General Counsel Abdul Arif Muhammad wrote a letter to Dr. Kane to oppose this request by Wolf and King. The following is the full text of the letter.]

July 8, 2011

Dr. Thomas R. Kane

Acting Director

Bureau of Prisons

320 First St NW Rm. 642

Washington, DC 20534 – 0002

Dear Acting Director Kane:

I am general counsel for the Nation of Islam and legal counsel to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. This communication is being written to formally notify you of our objection to and opposition of the request from Congressional Representatives Frank R. Wolf and Peter King in their letter dated July 5, 2011. The letter requests that you immediately remove all written, audio and video materials produced by the “Nation of Islam” and Louis Farrakhan from all BOP facilities.

The United States Constitution, First Amendment, is clear that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …. The request from these two congressional representatives violates the prohibition stated in the First Amendment. We are committed to ensuring and protecting our rights through all areas of redress that the law permits. In fact we have already litigated this matter in federal court and our first amendment rights were upheld.

During the June 15, 2011 hearings referenced in the congressmen’s letter there were no facts or evidence presented that Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan leads to radicalization, terrorism or extremist ideologies. The truth is the Nation of Islam has been recognized for over 70 years for reforming inmates and former inmates spiritually, morally, intellectually, and economically, and producing law abiding citizens who are positive contributors to their community. These individuals have a very low rate of recidivism. Moreover, there has not been one member of the Nation of Islam during our eighty year history in America that has been charged with an act of terrorism against the United States. We are taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to respect the laws that govern our Nation.

Contrary to the congressmen’s assertion that prisons in the US have been a fertile breeding ground for violent ideology leading to radicalization, the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing proved exactly the opposite. For your convenience I have attached the Testimony of Professor Bert Useem, of Purdue University, one of the presenters at the hearing.

The conclusion reached by this expert clearly contradicts the assertions in the July 5th letter. It states in pertinent part; My core argument, then, is that U.S. prisons are not systematically generating a terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland. … .The claim that U.S. prisons will generate scores of terrorists spilling out onto the streets of our cities appears to be false or, at least, much overstated.

More specifically and most importantly, Professor Useem was pointedly asked by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D) Texas, a member of the Homeland Security Committee whether he viewed the Nation of Islam as promoting, in the current 21st century, the undermining of this nation? Professor Useem stated; No, I don’t. For your convenience I have attached an excerpt of the transcript of this specific line of questioning.

We further categorically reject the perverse interpretation given by the congressmen regarding the alleged quote attributed to Minister Farrakhan as anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda, or that the video titles cited purportedly belong to the Nation of Islam.

We continue to provide spiritual and reformatory services to inmates, male and female, in many federal correctional facilities throughout the United States. Thus, we request to meet with you to engage in a dialogue regarding policies and procedures that will allow us to work together in a cooperative manner to achieve the rehabilitation of the inmate population we serve.

We believe these discussions will be beneficial especially in regards to your regulations concerning Incoming Publications, Religious Beliefs and Practices, and your Chaplains services.

We look forward to your response.


Abdul Arif Muhammad,Esq.

General Counsel to the Honorable

Minister Louis Farrakhan

and the Nation of Islam

7351 S. Stony Island Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60649

cc: The Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.

Attorney General of the United States

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Related Links:

Thursday, June 30, 2011


From my reporter’s notebook for The Final Call this week:

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously June 30 to apply Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 Amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Retroactively.

Photo: Big Stock Photos 

This means that on November 1, 2011, when the amendment takes effect, approximately 12,000 offenders may be eligible to seek reductions in their sentences.  

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the disparate sentencing ratio for crack/powder cocaine, which disproportionately affected Blacks, from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1.

Unless Congress acts to disapprove the amendment, the Commission estimates that the average sentence reduction for eligible offenders will be approximately 37 months.

I will be signing onto a conference call with national civil and human rights groups in about 45 minutes so we'll have more on the US Sentencing Commission’s decision and reactions from national organizations, including the ACLU and NAACP, in an upcoming article in The Final Call!

Related article:

Another admission 'war on drugs' has failed

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"We are not satisfied!" - Grant Family of $1.3 million settlement with BART

Oscar Grant's mother Wanda Johnson and a relative
/Tshirt photo of Oscar and his daughter/


Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar

Grant, III., has reached a $1.3 million

settlement in its civil lawsuit against

the Bay Area Rapid Transit District.  

"NO amount of money would make me satisfied...No amount of money will bring Oscar back and you can't pay for the loss of a loved one. Any parent who loses a child senselessly or at all still feels that pain," Ms Johnson said during a news conference on July 28.

Former officer Johannes Mehserle -

released in July after 11 months in an

LA County Jail  - fatally shot Grant on a

station platform on New Years Eve


Mehserle was convicted of involuntary

manslaughter and sentenced to 2

years in prison.

A separate lawsuit filed on behalf of Grant's daughter settled for $1.5 million previously. 

Wanda Johnson escorted by Student Minister Keith Muhammad

‎"We’re still trying to collect thoughts but I can definitely state that this settlement doesn’t bring a resolution to what happened to Oscar on that platform. Its just a part of the attempt but yet allows us to move forward in our other avenues as far as continuing to seek justice for Oscar. Of course, the Department of Justice is one area that we’re looking at," Cephus Johnson told  The Final Call Newspaper.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman and presidential candidate

Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam

Michael Prysner, Organizer with A.N.S.W.E.R. LA

Dedon Kamathi, All African People's Revolutionary Party and
Host-"Freedom Now!" @ 90.7 FM-KPFK

(Photos by Malcolm Ali)

Cynthia McKinney, Akbar Muhammad, Michael Prysner, Dedon Kamathi report their eyewitness accounts of on the ground activities by US/NATO forces in Libya in a national speaking tour entitled, "Eyewitness Libya." Saturday June 18 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.  More on the tour at and articles at


I had a moment to conduct brief interviews with members of the LA-activist community and clergy thanks to Bro. Abeid of the KRST Unity Center.  The interviews and full viewing of the LA speaking engagement are below and posted at  The tour is coming to a city near you.  It's a must see and more and more information unfolds during each stop.  Peace!  (Oh this is raw footage ok/no music or voiceovers....just pure information!)  

Sis. Charlene and Cynthia McKinney after her address.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Farrakhan press conference on US-sponsored assault on Libya

Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

For Immediate Release
June 13, 2011


Contact: Richard Muhammad, The Final Call
Cell: 312-480-9775


Farrakhan press conference on US-sponsored, NATO-led
assault on Libya and its dire consequences, Wednesday, June 15


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam, will hold a press conference, Wednesday, June 15, addressing the U.S.-sponsored, NATO-led bombing of Libya, UN-sanctioned military strikes and operations against the North African nation.

The press conference will be held at 11 a.m. EST, in the Landmark View Room of the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel One United Nations Plaza (44th Street between 1st and 2nd) in Manhattan.

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who is on her second fact finding mission to Libya, will address the press conference live from Tripoli on the NATO bombings' impact on civilians. NATO is using huge bunker-buster bombs in Tripoli. Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark will provide additional insight at the press conference. Also, Viola Plummer, a longtime human rights activist, will participate in the media event.

Working members of the press should register as soon as possible to reserve a seat at this important news event by calling 312 480 9775, or registering online at Media check-in will begin at 9:30 a.m. and current media credentials or a letter of assignment are required. Questions about the press conference and special requests should be forwarded to Richard Muhammad, editor in chief of The Final Call Newspaper, at 312 480 9775.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

To Mothers!

I'll always love my momma!  

I'm playing the R&B hit by the O'Jays right now and thinking about my mom, my sisters, who are great mothers that try hard every day (Cres, Stephanie and Toni), to my aunties Celeste, Gloria, Linda, Baby, Marcelette and Lucille, my sister-in-law Andrea, and my sisterhood and close friends throughout the world. 

I also dedicate this blog to my big sister Vanessa, who isn't physically with us anymore but beams everyday through two beautiful, precious stones she left with us.

My mama Dora Jane Bob
with my nieces Kendall and Kennedy

Families across the country will take a few hours out of their 'busy' schedules tomorrow to honor their mothers, grandmothers and guardians.  Some are going to spend time with and give cards to men who are single fathers, playing both roles, and their sisters, who may be rearing her siblings.  

Whatever we do, I feel we should create a way to extend those few hours or day to every day.  My mom's in Houston, Texas.  I talk to her as often as I can and honestly, I don't feel a special obligation or any pressure to call her on 'Mothers' Day' because we talk so often. However, I use this country's commercialized focus on this day as a positive reminder for me to thank Allah every day for her and to stay more in contact, see if she needs anything despite our being miles apart, and to honor her by living the way she reared me to.  

Thanks for being a great mother Dora J. Bob.  I LOVE YOU!

Mom graduating from 
Old St. Landry Parish Training School
Opelousad, Louisiana
(We're working on restoring this photo.)

Now, if you're in the L.A. and Compton areas and are dedicating time to your mother tomorrow, whether she is physically with you or is not what is considered a 'traditional' mother, let me recommend two wonderful celebrations.

While interviewing for a feature on Mothers' Day for The Final Call Newspaper, I spoke with Janette Robinson-Flint, a beautiful sister and founder of the advocacy and research organization Black Women for Wellness about her their celebration:  "Hipsters on the Upswing."  

Download Mother's Day Tea Flyer

Hipsters on the Upswing began as a way to celebrate single moms whose babies were too young to recognize the day and it transitioned into an event that also honors ancestor moms and support women who are experiencing their first Mothers' Day without their moms.  Then it added women who found themselves home alone after their children left the nest, children growing up in the foster care system who may or may not know their moms, women who were fostering children who don’t give a damn about them, and it began celebrating women who live in residential facilities, like drug rehabilitation centers, domestic violence shelters, and women who just couldn't make ends meet.  

Hipsters on the Upswing has become a place for them to celebrate the spirit of Black mothers.  You can join them:

May 8 from 2-5 PM
Community Build Garden
4305 Degnan Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Another beautiful annual event taking place is the "Celebration of Motherhood" in Compton at Mosque #54, where husbands, children, friends are invited to make dedications to their mothers.  

"Usually people don't have or they think they can't find the time to honor their mothers, so tomorrow we're creating the space for them to be able to do that," said Student Captain Gilda Muhammad, who is responsible for the well-being of women and girls there.

Familes are invited to bring their gifts, their poems, or their music, whatever they want to present to their moms tomorrow.  

Mothers everywhere, enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Unholy Alliance between The United States and Israel


“Have you noticed that the Republicans and Democrats can't agree on anything, except when it comes to Israel? ..Is that a strange picture that you can't agree on the welfare of the American people but you can agree on the best interests of the people of Israel?”

—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

( - While members of the Republican-led Congress and the Obama administration wrangle over severe budget cuts, one area of the federal budget that does not appear to be in jeopardy is the money going to the state of Israel.

According to the Institute for Middle East Understanding, U.S. military aid to Israel will reach $30 billion between fiscal years 2009-2018, an annual average increase of 25 percent over previous levels.

Read the full article here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's been a busy couple of weeks...not over yet.

While I was in Nashville, Tennessee at the Minority Writers Seminar last week, I began gathering data for the current Final Call cover story.  It was a trip because we had a bit of 'bad' weather there, but that was heavy rain and thunder - nothing like what North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi experienced.

Deadly weather terrorizes states, costing lives and millions of dollars

( - Severe weather can strike at anytime and in recent days, a storm system of tornadoes pummeled several southern and Midwestern states. The storms left millions of dollars in damages and took lives in what has been described as one of the worst storm series in decades.  These severe weather outbreaks also follow divine warnings from the leader of the Nation of Islam about God's judgment against America in recent weeks. 

Read the full story here at

Not fully back into the swing of things since the trip and I hit a little medical snag this week but can't stop.  I've got articles on incarceration and on colleges in the works and I need to decide how I'm going to chose two winners of Dr. Iyanla Vanzant's book ("Peace from Broken Pieces:  How to Get Through What You're Going Through") for my radio show tomorrow.  She'll be my special guest and taking your calls so get in early (818-985-5735 is the call in number).  Any ideas? Please post them.

Please join me and Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant on Liberated Sisters tomorrow....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nation adopts new technology to serve Black Nation, world

Auditors in group photo taken at Saviours' Day 2011 in Rosemont, Ill. Photos:

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has introduced Black America and the world to modern equipment, which will help in the salvation and liberation of Black people in America and others who are poor, downtrodden and oppressed.

Min. Farrakhan spoke briefly and shook the hand of every graduate during Saviours' Day ceremony.

Read the full story at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farrakhan delivers press conference on Libya policy of Obama administration

In a more than two hour press conference from Mosque Maryam, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan issued a divine, stern warning of God's chastisement and judgment on America to President Barack Obama and the U.S. government that America will never win the wars it is waging across the world.  

Min. Farrakhan said that is is hypocritical for America to claim that Leader Muammar Gaddafi must step down as the leader of Libya because of America's humanitarian concerns, when all across Africa - in the Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan, people have been and are being slaughtered, yet she has not stepped in.

Min. Farrakhan, the great defense attorney that he is (but he is more than that....believe it) listed the good works that Mr. Gaddafi has done, not just for the Libyan people, but he gave specifics on Mr. Gaddafi's charity to the Nation of Islam, and talked about the Libyan leader's shock over betrayal by leaders like French President Nicolas Sarkozy because he funded Sarkozy's election campaign.  Nonetheless, Sarkozy joined the US and her other European allies to go against the African leader and dropped the bombs on him.

I urge you to hear the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for yourself.  Go to: and get your own personal copy of today's statement or any other that he has given that you desire.  Also visit

Peace! (remember to donate to keep these webcasts coming /smile!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farrakhan to hold press conference addressing events in the Middle East and the Libya policy of the Obama administration 

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2011

Contact: Richard Muhammad, The Final Call 
Cell: 773-512-9931

Farrakhan to hold press conference addressing events in the Middle East and the Libya policy of the Obama administration

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will hold a press conference on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at Mosque Maryam, the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam located at 7351 S. Stony Island Avenue in Chicago, Illinois at 1:00 p.m. Central Time. (6:00 GMT)

Minister Farrakhan feels compelled to deliver a word of guidance and warning during this time of upheaval and trouble.

Minister Farrakhan watched with great interest and concern along with millions across the globe, President Barack Obama’s March 28 address from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He has also followed the recent comments of the Obama administration officials and advisors.

The press conference will be shown live via internet webcast at

All media are invited to attend and directly ask questions of Minister Farrakhan. Doors open for Media setup at 11:45 a.m.

For those media organizations interested in coverage, please go to


Monday, March 28, 2011

Scenes from our March 26 evening with Jasiri X

Bro. Jasiri X travels the world, spreading his message of consciousness and unity and against injustice.  His latest stop was in Los Angeles, where he performed his song "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires before approximately 30,000 people at the Our Communities Our Jobs March and Rally.

Jasiri X,  Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and 
Mahlon Mitchell (President, Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin) 
(Photo by Tahir Jahi)

After the rally Bro. Jasiri and one of his business partners - real cool brother! - Tahir Jahi - came to the Sisters' Marketplace in Leimert Park to present his workshop, "How to Succeed in Hip-Hop Without Selling Your Soul."

PHENOMENAL is all I've got say but if you don't believe me, just ask the sisters and brothers who joined me.  Bro. Jasiri shared how he got into the business; how he believes he catapulted to a national success because he produces conscious music that deals with many social issues today, like police brutality, corporate corruption and greed, and the need for positive images of women and girls in music and videos.

I found out from Bro. Jasiri during my show featuring an interview with him on 90.7 FM/KPFK during our special coverage of the march and rally, we were playing his song over the air while he was actually performing it in Pershing Square.  You can listen to the show for about 90 days at  It's under Some of Us Are Brave March 26, 1 pm slot.

I was very honored that our brother took time to come to Leimert Park after a long day of work already and share his knowledge with the community - for free!

Jasiri X and Dedon Kamathi

Many thanks to Sis. Aminah Muhammad and Bro. Larry Muhammad for the constant support and co-hosting my events and Bro. Dedon Kamathi, host of KPFK's Freedom Now for the steadfast solidarity.

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback; a lot of you because of how quickly this was put together couldn't be there and say you hate you missed him.  I'll let you know when Bro. Jasiri can come back and we can do this again - more notice next time.  I promise!

(all photos by Sis Charlene unless otherwise noted.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Millions Raising Their Grandchildren in Poverty

Marquise Cormier and his devoted grandmother Kenny Jones

It had been years since I had first encountered a stellar Kenny Jones and her grandson Marquise Cormier at a local book tour for Black authors.  I, like many in the audience of writers, authors and celebrity guest speakers sat in amazement as we listened to the young boy explain his purpose in life and why he was not a problem child.  He was battling the notion that he belonged in special education classes and he'd even wrote a book to make his case.  

Marquise and his grandmother were on the speaking circuit and doing well. That's why when I was given the opportunity to collaborate with the ethnic media organization New America Media ( to write about children in poverty and began seeking human portraits of the crisis, I outright rejected the recommendation to interview Marquise and Ms. Jones.  "I've seen them...poverty?  Please!"  I told book publisher and radio talk show host Dr. Rosie Milligan, my first window into their vastly changed world.

I've learned a lot from hearing their stories about how their lives may have spiraled but their spirits continue to soar.  I'm eternally grateful for their sharing with me.

Child Prodigy and Grandmother Show Hidden Face of Poverty

LOS ANGELES--On the surface, Marquise Cormier seems like an average teenager—he’s happy, plays on his high school football team and likes going to parties. But underneath his 16-year-old shoulder pads is a weight of poverty and want brought on by the death of his grandfather and the severe illness of his grandmother.

To read full article:

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2