Community activist offers words of encouragement to students By: Ania Sherman

He is a strong man, a black man.

His righteous mind made his voice tremble, like that of a southern Baptist preacher.

Texas Southern University students sat in the pew like seating with aching hunger pains for knowledge.

He spoke of God’s plan. His sermon like teachings pushed his listeners to the edge of their seats, and down to their knees.

His knowledge baptized his flock of listeners; fully submerging them into a euphoric enlightenment of consciousness.

Deric Muhammad, Houston-based community activist, organizer, and student in the ministry, spoke to a crowd of mostly young black men attending Texas Southern University; his message was ‘Love Yourz’ what it means to have life, manhood, blackness, and purpose.

Muhammed told the young men of the eight traps to be aware of that thwart survival, and success in life.

Number one, Neglecting your spiritual self.

“If you fail to feed your spiritual self, and all you feed is your other self, then your spiritual self will begin to die off, and the day is going to come when you need that spiritual self, and it won’t be there like you need it to be, why? Because you have not fed it,” Muhammed said.

Number two, not believing in yourself.

“To believe in yourself costs you nothing, but failure to believe in yourself costs you everything,” Muhammed said.

Number three the criminal justice system.

“Just stay out of it!,” Muhammed said.

Number four, the disrespect, and disregard for women.

“One of the biggest traps that you can fall into, and when you fall deep enough into that trap, unfortunately some of us never climb out, so you want to practice respect, and regard for the female, one day you’ll be like me and have three daughters,” Muhammed said.

Number five, the abuse of alcohol, and drugs.

“All that is, is a shortcut to the natural high, that you are supposed to get when you envision something in your mind, and you bring it into reality with your hands, when you smoke that dope, when you hit that blunt, you’re just taking a shortcut to the high, what we say is take the long route to the high, and that high will never go away,” Muhammed said.

Trap number six, the idea of job security.

“The idea of job security, is a trap, don’t fall into that one, most of you went to college because someone told you, that if you come, and you get an education, you can go and get a good job, and make some money, and have job security; I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as job security, the only secure job that you have is the one that you make for yourself,” said Muhammed.

Number seven, debt.

“Debt, the honorable Elijah Muhammed teaches us that debt is slavery, as long as someone can keep you indebted to them, they can always control you,” Muhammed said.

Number eight, materialism.

“Gucci, louis, Chanel, Jordan, Mercedes-Benzes. These are all names, brands that get our attention, and when we put on a certain type of clothes, a certain type of shoes, certain type of dress, we carry a certain type of bag, all of a sudden, we believe, or we begin to feel that we ourselves are more valuable, then we were without it,” Muhammed said.

Muhammad said that the “black man” would not survive, if he continually pursued the same self-inflicting harm.

“How can you love your blackness?,” Muhammed asked the audience.

“You love blackness, by supporting, that which is black… you love blackness by taking your black dollar, to a black business, and supporting that black business,” said Muhammed.

Loving your blackness includes, loving, and supporting each other in a positive nurturing way, he added

“You love your blackness by whenever you see your brother or sister doing something positive, you walk over to them, and you actively, out of your mouth, give an encouraging word,” said Muhammed.

“How do you love your blackness?,” he asked the audience

“You go to a school like Texas Southern University,” Muhammed said.

Muhammed’s main objective was to tell men, that you have to do better.

Muhammed conveyed to the group, that if black men do not clean up their act, it will not only affect them negatively, but black women will have to face repercussions.

His fear is his motivation and his love for the millennial generation is his inspiration.

“Love Youz” which was the title of his agenda is also a song by a millennial rap artist J. Cole.

The chorus was the very lifeline to Muhammed’s speech.

“There is no such thing as a life that’s better than yours, love yours.” –J. Cole.

Muhammed ended his speech on an inspirational note.

“There is nothing on this earth that God did not give a specific purpose… raise your thumb, you see this? On your thumb is your thumb print, what that is, is God’s signature of authenticity. If everything he made has a purpose…why would he leave you out?,” Muhammed said.

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