Lack of community engagement failed Aziz, Khalil and Malcolm X

By Ron Calhoun

Every day we have the opportunity to make positive changes; to add value to our lives by examining the societal strongholds that hamper our constitutional rights of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. How long will we wait for the weak and self-serving leadership to step up and truly serve the people of the community? How long will we sit back and wait for someone else to do it for us?

It took a small group of like-minded people only a few months to almost overthrow the United States Capitol on January 6. It took a small group of concerned people years to expose the corruption in the American government. Black and brown people have known for years that Muhammad Azizaka (Norman Butler) and Khalil Islam (Thomas 15x Johnson) did not assassinate Malcolm X.

Aziz, who had served in the Navy, spent 20 years in prison before he was released on parole in 1985. Islam, who was once Malcolm X’s personal driver, was released in 1987. Both maintained that they had been framed by the true killers and whoever had ordered the assassination. The tragedy is that in our laziness and lack of concern for each other, we accepted their guilt.

Passivity is not the answer to these systematic issues. Engagement results in value-added.

Fact: The New York Police Department, FBI, and New York City District Attorney’s office lied, or withheld information about the assassination for years.

Other eyebrow-raising discoveries include that police knew a New York Daily News reporter had received a call earlier that day saying that Malcolm X would be killed. The prosecutors were aware of but did not disclose that there had been undercover cops in the Upper Manhattan ballroom at the time.

Islam, who was released in 1987, died in 2009. Both he and Aziz worked for years to have their names cleared.

“I am an 83-year-old man who was victimized by the criminal justice system, and I do not know how many more years I have to be creative,” Aziz said in his statement on Wednesday. “However, I hope the same system that was responsible for this travesty of justice also takes responsibility for the immeasurable harm it caused me.”

The chickens have truly come home to roost.

It is the communities’ responsibility to engage collectively for that value add. There are many activists and special interest groups who are toeing the line of change, but in most cases, it is for their benefit. We must have a community-focused agenda. What is best for the community as a whole? That approach will never fail.

What do we get in return for engagement? We get transparency, accountability, and truth. What better way to turn our communities, our cities, and our country around? What can we do? Start at home with those same attributes we hold others to transparency, accountability, and truth (TAT) at home. Doesn’t it all start at home?

The family has been under attack for a long time. Fight back with TAT! Starting with each of us as individuals, ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable, to be an accountability partner; someone you can be transparent with. There is value in transparency, accountability, and truth. We as a community of families need YOU to get engaged.

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