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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


A.M. Journal

The Dignity Of Work :Human Dignity Demands Lawful Employment: Part II

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


NWPC: With the economy, even the aged people now are looking for things to do to help subsidize their income. It has gotten really terrible — and something you mentioned, high unemployment rates and all of that. The other day I went down to a meeting and they were talking about the Block Grants and there was so much... from the professors — it was at a college. There was Dr. this and Dr. that. They were all just pessimistic, no hope, it seemed, and I felt very good coming out of that. They talked about the government and their role being removed now and the Block Grants coming to the city.

Would you have any thought on that, Brother Imam, how we can best work with this kind of thought to help to encourage senior citizens because many of them are afraid? They don't know what they can do. Some of them are too old, too sick to work. What you suggested for the dignity for other people is really what we needed.

IMAM W. DEEN MUHAMMAD: It's a pity we don't have strong institutions or tax supported agencies that would be rational enough to do what should be done because what should be done is really beyond our reach, we are too small.

There should be some community programs, supported by big business, for our elderly people with some kind of work that would be rewarding to them.

I am sure many of them would work for almost nothing if they are not that badly in need of money.

But, if they were doing something rewarding, if the establishment would cooperate with human services people, I believe that something could be done.

I know we could use an elderly person to assist for a day or so in my home. Not to do house work, just to be in the home, or to answer the phone, to take the calls. We could use a person like that to assist us, and I am sure there are others who are poor just like myself, but it wouldn't hurt to have an elderly person to help us out a couple of days.

It wouldn't cost us that much if it were supported by the establishment or by the government. It wouldn't cost the poor people anything.

They would be assisting a poor person like me and be giving the elderly person something to do. Therefore, I would be freer to improve my own financial situation so that I won't be a burden on society and at the same time the elderly person will have something to do that is rewarding to them.

There are so many ideas we could come up with to give the elderly something rewarding to do.

They need to be in the company of other people. They need to associate with other people. They are lonely because most of us are too busy for them.

Every time you suggest an idea like this, people think you are Socialist, people think you are Communist. But I think that's intentionally done to frighten us away from insisting that society be sensitive to social needs.

I feel we have to change that. There are free countries, democratic nations, that have progressed much more than we have, socially, and they are not called Communist nations.

We have a long way to go, and something has to be done.

NWPC: With that, you just inspired a thought that in the course   of   the   parade   we could think about some ways that we could reach out to those big companies. We talk about inviting various other kinds of people, but maybe we could make a special effort with this parade to bring in the companies. Maybe they will feel the spirit of what we    are   trying   to  generate and their responsibility to some of the people that they will see marching in the parade?

IMAM: Brother Omar, they are the ones that can really bring results. We can do just so much, but we can't get that much.

If some of those foundations established by the big companies that have done so much already to help human beings live a better life, would come out and identify with this grass-roots cry to society for help, I think it will do a lot of good.

I know it will do a lot of good!

It would encourage other people to really give just consideration to these concerns.

There are many other big business operations; if they saw those that are already sensitive to those concerns standing with us in our bold and courageous spirit....

How often do you find people without money, people without jobs, people without a high culture base doing what we are doing? They don't do that. They usually raise hell. They just start screaming and tearing the place down.

We are not doing this, we are trying to find a way to bring sensible remedies to the situation. This should cause some of those people on top to look down and say, "Well, maybe here is the opportunity for us to correct these problems." With the cooperation of people on the bottom, you can correct the problems.

NWPC: You have given us a significant emphasis that we asked for, because I think a special effort in the form of letters and other kinds of diplomatic solicitations to the big companies and maybe even a special meeting prior to the parade, just with them, to share with them our vision.

We have had people in the past to say to us, "You should solicit from the big companies at least $500 apiece to help us support the parade."

But what we need is just what you have just said, not to just give us money, but to develop programs that will be sufficient for them to be willing to fund, rather than just give us money to pay for the parade.

Bro. Imam to wrap up the interview, would you talk about what we hope to achieve here in Chicago and nationally and what we expect this year for the New World Patriotism Parade, locally and nationally?

IMAM: I hope to see the faith in self increase and respect for self increase, that is my main hope.

I believe the theme is going to have the effect of awakening self-respect and awakening self-determination in the people to hold up their life, to keep their dignity.

If this can be accomplished, I will be happy. That will be enough for me, because I know people out there are not going to tolerate the situation we have been tolerating for long.

I don't think we are going to get any real results until the society and the government realize that the masses are not animals.

NWPC:  Thank you very much. Brother Imam.

IMAM: Thank you.