I cannot accept this “New Norm”. I cannot accept that my life will no longer be the same because you told me the boogie man is outside and the boogie man is so big that no one can see him and he is so dangerous that we all have to hide from him, and if you don’t hide from him, shame on you. You are now subjected to social demonization. You are now a pariah because you refuse to accept these boundaries that have been set almost overnight. Shut up and take this check and sit at home and binge watch Netflix. Yes, and your children, set them in front of the computer for eight hours a day. You aren’t qualified to teach your children? But you must. The New Norm is the standard. Your daddy died? Yes. Sorry to hear that, move along please. No, the boogie man did not kill him, but the New Norm protocol is: you are not allowed to grieve with your family, air hugs only, text messages, and tears cried alone in your room while the New Norm flaunts his muscles in the streets. Pushing back any naysayer or independent thinker who challenges the boogie man.
The power of the pen is strong. No I haven’t seen anyone die from the boogie man. But I have been flooded with stories on social media, the radio, and newspapers of his destruction. The Boogie Man is bad; he will kill your aging parents. Yes, keep them locked up, do not physically interact with them. The pen wrote that the Boogie man’s victims are being bulldozed into refrigerated trucks and dumped into mass graves. Far be it for me to challenge the Boogie man especially during an election year. I say the Boogie Man can kiss my glass of freshly juiced ginger, lemon, and honey. I will not accept the Boogie Man or the New Norm. You will have to force them on me. They will take advantage of me and fill me with suspicion of my neighbors and friends. He will desensitize my children while over stimulating them. My parents will die a slow lonely death all the while I will be labeled extreme and reckless, because I do not accept the boogie man and I will not abide by the New Norm, because I refuse to live a life in solitude under the guise of being “virtually” socially connected with people who probably wouldn’t call me, hug me, console me even if I was right in front of them. The New Norm will not be my reality.
I need you!
Reshelle is the editor of A Message from Makkah. She is also the administrator for Makkah International Institute. Reshelle is a masters degreed educator with with over ten years experience teaching domestically and abroad. She is a mother of 9 children, wife, and sister.
From Racism to Riots
Contrary to popular belief, this protest isn’t about one singular event or justice for one person or even a small group of people. This protest is the representation of the pot boiling over. African American’s and honestly, young people in general have seemed to finally have enough of the injustices in this country and more specifically, the racial injustices committed against black peoples with seemingly no repercussions. That is the spirit of this protest and Insha Allah it will be successful however, in order for it to be successful, we must relearn resistance. We do not have to be violent and chaotic to get to the goals we seek but we do have to be organized and defiant. We must make things uncomfortable for those who are comfortable. Effective Protesting is easy there will be tough times but anything worth having is worth fighting for and this is indeed worth having.
Be safe when you're fighting for freedom
For folks who are new to social justice actions:
1. Water makes pepper spray worse. Use milk or liquid antacid and water. Don't wear contacts.
2. If you get tear gassed, when you get home, put the contaminated clothes in a plastic bag for later decontamination and shower with cold water to avoid opening your pores.
3. Come with friends and don't get separated.
Avoid leaving the crowd and watch out for police snatch squads.
4. Beware undercovers, but beware snitch jacketing and collaborator 'peace police' even more.
5. The far right is very good at combing through pictures and doxxing people. Mask up.
6. Write any necessary phone numbers you may need directly on your skin in sharpie.
7. Have an offsite plan for emergencies if you have not been heard from by X time coordinate with someone offsite.
8. Make sure all mobile devices are charged!!
9. If you plan on going to jail, plan it: bail, lawyer, time off from work, witnesses i.e.: a cadre. Don't just go to jail without training.
10. Beware folks inciting violence. Most of them are police feds. Watch out for hook ups for the same reason. Get to know the crowd. They will set you up. (courtesy of Facebook)
Kairi Al-Amin Esq.
Attorney Kairi Al-Amin is a Muslim rapper, activist, lawyer and business developer from Atlanta, Ga.
Today’s Market & Future Outlook
Real Estate experts continue to monitor and track the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on our economy. Recent data shows that we are currently in a seller’s market that is slightly shifting downward, with home values slowly decreasing. This is partly because even though mortgage interest rates are lower than ever, millions of US borrowers still can’t receive a home loan since they are out of work. Despite this downward shift in home values and rising unemployment rate, the Georgia marketplace continues to be resilient with signs of future improvement. Experts believe that we should see a recovery starting in late 2020 or 2021. As of April, buyer activity has started picking back up and normalizing as homebuyers continue to move forward with their home ownership plans. Recent statistics show that homes are selling 3 days more quickly than last year this time. This means if you’re a homeowner planning to sell, this summer is still the hottest time to buy and sell your home.
Steps to Financially Survive
If you want to be financially successful during this economic shift, there are 4 action steps to help you survive and thrive. The first and most critical step is create a personal budget and stick to it. On a spreadsheet, list out all of your monthly expenses and include ALL of your debt. Include credit cards, student loans, car payments, mortgage, etc. Create a budget of all of your spending per pay-period. Then list your income and subtract your expenses from your income to determine your net profit. You always want your net profit to be a positive number so that your expenses are less than your income and you are not in the negative every pay-period. Try to allow some excess cash for savings. Work every month to evaluate your actual spending using a financial app. I recommend Mint.com. Check yourself if you have overspent last month and make adjustments to the budget as needed or make a stronger effort to stay within your budget. Your entire family has to be on board with the budget in order for it to work. You can follow the Dave Ramsey “Total Money Makeover” budget plan to help you get started.
The second step is to categorize & cut expenses so that you can maximize your cash flow. Categorize each expense as A, B, C, and D. A’s are must-haves, B’s are wants, C’s are luxuries, and D’s are expenses that have no purpose and you may not even know where they came from. The goal is to cut, cut, and then cut some more until you only have A’s & B’s left. Try to start by cutting out all D’s this month. Then next month cut as many C’s as you can. Try to see if you can free up $1000 of your money and put it aside for the 3rd action step.
The third action step is to systematically pay off all of your debts & save for emergencies. Paying off debts will allow you to free up more of your cash flow and have money for emergencies. More than ever now, companies are willing to work out payment plans, remove late fees, and defer payments for those impacted by Covid-19. Now’s the time to reach out to companies and see how you can benefit as well. Using the Dave Ramsey Plan, read “Total Money Makeover” and follow the steps to get out of debt. Once you’re able to pay off all of your debt, you will have more cash back into your pocket that you can use to invest and build wealth.
The fourth step is to put all of your focus and efforts into increasing your personal wealth. Set goals for your personal wealth and long-term financial freedom. Write down your goal with specific dates and numbers that you want to obtain. If your goal is to earn an extra $1000 per month of passive income, then you will need to research and find out what others have done to obtain the same goal. Then mimic their steps and exactly follow what they did so that you can have the same results. Once you determine your plan of action, systematically work the plan focusing only on completing the actions. Also remember to reward yourself for achievements! As you go along, reward yourself as milestones are reached and check them off. I personally have a purse fetish, so I often treat myself to a Coach bag every-time I reach a milestone. Maybe you just want to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a job well done!
When You’re Ready to Start Investing
When you’re ready to start investing there are a ton of different ways you can diversify your portfolio. In my opinion, you’re ready to start investing if your debts are paid off, you have at least $1000 set aside in savings for emergencies, and you have a positive net profit every pay-period.
If you’re ready, then a portion of the excess cash can be divided and invested into REITs & stocks. Two resources that can get you started are Fundrise for REITs and Robinhood for stocks. When it comes to stocks, I prefer high dividend paying stocks and investing long term. That strategy is because of my personal goal of building passive income for retirement. Your personal goals may be different, therefore your strategy should match your goal. I truly recommend watching and subscribing to Graham Stephan and Andrei Jikh’s Youtube videos to learn more about stock investing.
Real Estate investing is a strong classical method for earning passive income, especially for retirement. You can flip or hold, but based on my studies, some of the wealthiest investors invest in multi-unit rental properties and hold to receive rental income. Others choose the Flip, Flip, Hold strategy. Again, your strategy should reflect your personal goal. There are also many tax advantages that real estate investing allows. I recommend listening to Del Walmsley & Tom Ferry podcasts to learn more about investing in Real Estate.
Business Ownership is another big investment that also allows tax advantages. Purchasing an existing business or starting your own is a great way to build wealth in the form of a company that can be passed down to future generations. Many of my wealthier friends have formed partnerships to build a business and invest together. Pulling together your resources, whether financial or “sweat equity” and working together as a team often makes you stronger and more successful than someone working solo.
Finally, don’t forget your kids and the need to save for their college and/or your retirement. The last thing you want is to have your children get into debt to attend school. Similarly, investing a portion of your income into a IRA or 401k will allow you to have multiple streams of income for retirement. If you want to learn more about how to build wealth for retirement, I direct you again to listen to Del Walmsley’s Lifestylesunlimited podcasts and follow his strategy.
Real Estate Ownership
The homeownership rate continues to increase as more people place value in homeownership. If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future, here are 4 steps to help you get ready.
1. Start saving for your down-payment and closing costs and figure out how much home you can afford. Use a Home Buying calculator to know your purchasing power and potential costs. Most real estate agents and lenders will have these tools available on their websites.
2. Get a Pre-Qualification letter from a lender or Pre-Approval Letter
3. Get a Real Estate Agent
4. Do your research on home ownership, costs of buying, and the current market
5. Tour homes (in-person and/or online)
Islamic Financing Options
If you’re considering using Islamic (Faith-based) Financing instead of conventional, there are a couple of good options out there that allow Muslims to avoid Riba. There are 2 sources that I would recommend for faith-based financing:
1. Guidance Residential
2. University Islamic Financial (UIF)
There are a ton of resources and programs out there to assist First-Time Homebuyers, Repeat Homebuyers, Investors, and people impacted by Covid-19. Reach out to your real estate expert or financial advisor to find out what resources they have that can help you.
Born in Hempstead, NY and raised in Atlanta, GA Jameela is a recognized entrepreneur, investor, and IT professional. She holds a Master's degree in Computer Information Systems and is a Licensed Realtor and owner of Esa Realty, LLC. She was the former CEO and owner of Rashid Technologies and Founder of Risala Islamic Academy in Stone Mountain, Ga. She has experience in buying and selling real estate and has owned & flipped 6 properties since 2012.
The saying “we are living in a new normal” is so cliché, yet so real. When we think about education in this new way it seems to be a toss-up. You may have a great system in place to deliver digital learning, with a supportive community, as well as a dedicated staff to support digital learning. You may have a system where summer began after March 13, 2020, or a system that is somewhere in-between the two poles. We have lived through Covid-19 digital learning of Pre-K through college level classes. As Pre-K through 12th grade administrators and governments identify reopening options, college officials are doing the same. We have a limited amount of information about what’s to come, but our students should still stay enriched and supported through this transition. We are now looking at young adults affected by this change but still striving for college and career readiness. Brick-and-Mortar institutions are now online schools, college admissions requirements are focused on something other than standardized exams, and students are continuing to question what to do with their lives.
As a Georgia school counselor, I have been inundated with students’ questions about what happens next year as it relates to Dual Enrollment or college admissions. The questions are filled with nervousness of the unknown, angst as it pertains to admissions answers, and I can only respond, “I don’t have all the answers, but take a minute to breath.” Though this time we are living in is like no other in our lifetime, I suggest students continue to build their resumes and add on to their mental lexicon. Over the summer, students should try to keep their minds sharp and build their knowledge. Find a group of friends that share your interest and create a book club or watch and discuss a movie together. A recent High School graduate told me that her and a group of friends “watch a movie together” at their respective homes while using a virtual meeting medium. Students are honing in on analytical and discussion skills every time they talk about the new movie, song, or book that’s out. Become accustom to reading the paper, watching the news, sitting with the elders and understanding historical and current events. Without deadlines or teacher driven instructions, try understanding some math concepts that completely made no sense during digital learning. Learning should not have ceased because of Covid-19.
College admissions procedures have drastically changed to accommodate the fluctuations in the world. The requirements are different; mandating minimum SAT or ACT scores is becoming obsolete, qualifying GPAs is still a necessity, and requiring various letters of recommendations are holding more weight. College Board is a not-for-profit organization, governing the SAT and other college success opportunities, who had to modify their exam schedule due to this pandemic; they are hoping to restart the exam schedule in August 2020 and adding exam dates more frequently. The question is, what does all of this mean for potential college students?
Colleges and Universities were obligated to think quickly to ensure students could still be admitted to their Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 programs. Many of the University System of Georgia (USG) schools have begun to accept a digital version of a dissimilar college admissions test: The Accuplacer in lieu of SAT or ACT scores is now being used. Georgia Gwinnett College and Georgia State University, to name a few, are amongst the schools that adopted the Accuplacer exam (Georgia Gwinnett College, 2020). Moreover, other states are rethinking admissions criteria as well. The University of California (UC) college system declared that they will not use SAT or ACT for admissions, but instead will have students complete a new test that aligns with UC expectations (Hess, 2020). Consequently, some schools such as Kennesaw State University have taken the stance of eliminating admissions tests completely during this time. These modifications have benefits and downsides. A Georgia technical college recently contacted me stating that students can now be placed in a college level math course just by submitting an official transcript. This is significant because math placement has been based on test scores under the guise that the scores are indicative of a student that can handle higher level thinking in that subject area. This is a benefit for students who simple do not test well. These changes affect rising college students, dual enrollment students, and current students on their matriculation journey.
Early last week, Georgia had ideas, but no concrete decision on how to reopen its brick-and-mortar campuses. According to the USG Fall 2020 Memo there were three Contingency plans that consider the safety of the staff and students of these institutions.
The current status of college admissions is not stagnant and can change as the pandemic changes. I encourage students to stay the course, and end the school year with a strong foundation to begin anew. If grades and GPA are a major factor in college admissions, then focus on being driven to succeed and follow your goals. Regardless of the conflicts of the times, remember your creator and set your course towards being a productive member of your community.
Georgia Gwinnett College. (2020). Freshman admission: Never attended college. https://www.ggc.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/freshmen-no-college.html
Hess, A. (2020, May 26). The UC sytem plans to phase out the SAT and ACT-and other schools may follow. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/22/uc-plans-to-phase-out-sat-and-act-other-schools-may-follow-suit.html
University System of Georgia. (2020, May 12). Stay safe, stay well on campus. https://www.usg.edu/coronavirus/
Madeenah Alwakeel-Dawson MEd
Madeenah Alwakeel-Dawson is a certified school counselor in the state of Georgia and a Doctoral student at the University of West Georgia. She has 18 years of education and counseling experience, working with children and adults alike. For the past 6 years, she has created a counseling department at a private Islamic School in the Atlanta Metro area and has held the School Counselor Department chair position. Madeenah is a proponent of tapping into hidden potential to support individuals in self-discovery and goal setting.
As a Muslim and from the very beginning of my life l was taught that when we feed other people, it is considered an act of worship to the Most High. As Muslims, we are taught that we are God's servants in service to Him. My family had land in Haralson, Georgia where my father, Jameel Muhammad lbraheem, and grandfather, Abu Jameel Muhammad lbraheem started the first masjid or Muslim house of worship on their land in the late 1960s. Muslims came from all over to learn to grow fruits and vegetables and live off of the land as a means for survival. We grew our own fruits and vegetables to be consumed and shared with others as a sadaqa. We raised our own livestock and supplied the inner cities with halal meats. As a child, all l can remember is that my father would cook up all this food, and feed people.
All praises due to God, my father was my first example of giving to others as an act of worship and service that is pleasing to the Most High. In 2004, l began feeding the homeless with a great friend of my brother named Abdul Jami Allen. His Nonprofit was called Giving Back to Humanity. I fed with him on Sundays at Broad Street Masjid in downtown Atlanta for 5 years. He literally fed 500 homeless people every single weekend. After each time we volunteered with Giving Back to Humanity, me and my mother would drive around our own neighbor, Westend Oakland City community, and look for two people to give our 2 volunteer plates to.
We would drive around looking for homeless people and find them under bridges and near vidocks all over the Westend Oakland city community. People would see us with plates and come running.... My mother and I felt sad because we would always only have those two plates of food to give out. The people would literally come running thinking that we had enough to feed everyone. While walking away, they always seemed very disappointed. I prayed to God, and l set a goal to try to feed 150 people on Sundays in my own Westend Oakland city community for His pleasure.
My Sister Yaqutullah lbraheem Muhammad had a mentor that soon became my mentor, Khariyyah Faiz. My sister fed the homeless with Sister Khariyyah’s nonprofit here in the city of Atlanta called Sis United lnc. Brother Abdul Jami Allen was also very supportive of my dream when l told him that l was preparing to start a feeding program in my own community because l saw a need there. In March of 2010, I made flyers and drove all around the Westend Oakland city community telling anyone that l saw who looked homeless or hungry about the establishment of a new feeding program. I began letting them know that they could receive a hot and delicious meal if they came to Oakland city park at 10am on a Sunday. The second Sunday of March 2010 l had my very first feeding.
l have been a teacher for 20 years, so many of my volunteers are past co-workers, parents, and students who have grown into adulthood. Humanitarian Relief Power to Feed The Hungry was started to feed and serve the community in which l was raised and lived in. All Praises Due to God, in March of 2020 we celebrated 10 years of Successful feedings. Over the years we have had summer read-a-thons focused on giving the children in our neighborhood access to 50k free books during the summer months. When l began feeding with brother Brother Abdul Jami of Giving Back to Humanities in 2004 l realized how many children in our city limits are affected by homelessness and hungry. After starting my own feeding program l was able to partner with Better World Books so that I could not only give each child a meal, but access to 10 books. When l first started, l could not have envisioned such a successful program that would also focus on children in the community. ln March of 2010 l just prayed and prayed for God to allow us to be able to continue to feed the community. All praises due to God, Alhumduillah, today Humanitarian Relief Power to feed the hungry has had over 553 successful feedings over 10 years and 8 weeks of feedings in God's Name. l have been able to keep the feeding the people entirely for the pleasure of God as an act of worship .
Jinnah Ibraheem is The Founder of Humanitarian Relief "Power to Feed The Hungry." She is a wife, daughter, and an educator with over 20 years experience. She has her bachelors and masters degrees in education, and is currently pursuing her PhD.
Men's Health Month
Think about the last time you were in your doctor's waiting room. Who did you see there? Chances are you probably noticed the usual suspects-- nurses, mothers, and children. However, it is likely that you did not see as many men. In healthcare settings across the country, this is an everyday reality.
June marks Men's Health Awareness Month, a national campaign that raises awareness about preventable conditions and promotes health and wellness among men and boys. According to research, most doctor visits involve women and children. On average, men are only half as likely to visit doctor's offices, emergency departments (ED), and physician home visits compared to women. Men are also less likely to utilize preventive care, hospice care, and dental care visits. Socialized norms about masculinity impact boys' and men's perception of their health and health behaviors. These norms also influence the beliefs of their family members, friends, and others within their social network.
The limited and delayed use of healthcare services can have severe consequences for men's health and wellness. Life expectancy is nearly five years shorter on average, for men than for women, and mortality rates for most leading causes of preventable death are highest among men. These health outcomes impact men's ability to be an involved father, supportive husband, and engaged member of their families and community.
"Recognizing and preventing men's health problems is not just a man's issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men's health is truly a family issue." Throughout June, religious organizations, private businesses, civic organizations, government agencies, fraternities, and others will host events to provide education on men-related health outcomes, prevention strategies, and resources.
This month on, encourage men and boys to participate in regular medical checkups and early detection for disease and injury.
Support men's disease prevention and wellness by:
For more information on Men's Health, check out:
Men's Health Resource Center: www.MensHealthResourceCenter.com
Health Profiles of Men and Boys in each state can be found at www.stateofmenshealth.com
 Pinkhasov RM, Wong J, Kashanian J, et al. Are men shortchanged on health? Perspective on health care utilization and health risk behavior in men and women in the United States. Int J Clin Pract. 2010;64(4):475‐487. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02290.x
 Congressman Bill Richardson.
Dr. Malikah S. Waajid, Ph.D, MPH
Dr. Waajid is an epidemiologist and program evaluator with more than 10 years of experience working in community health in the United States and abroad. She is born and raised in Decatur, Georgia.
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