BAPP(Blight Arrest Pioneer Patrol)

“We want to have our neighborhood that’s our responsibility. If it’s blighted, we want to remove the blight from it. About 15 years ago, almost ago, I came up with a concept to put a lot of us to work, who didn’t have work. I said, “The government doesn’t have to pay us, our dignity wants this.” We started a group called the Blight Arrest, like a cop arrests a criminal. Blight Arrest Group, it was a Blight Arrest Group in Chicago (Blight Arrest Pioneer Patrol) and it spread around, some of them are still active. Blight Arrest Group. I said, “Our soul will pay us if we poor without a job, go out and get the trash away from the sidewalk, clean the street,” don’t let that trash be out there blowing all around the stores, let us remove the trash. The store man asks, “What are you doing?” Say, “I’m picking the trash off that is in front of your store.” Says, “Why are you doing that?” “My dignity calls for that, this is our neighborhood, this is our neighborhood, our neighborhood, our dignity asked us to clean the trash from your store, we had to come [unintelligible 00:25:23] to the store.” I told them, “If you can paint, you can’t find a job painting, you see a house on the block that’s an eyesore, and it needs painting, go tell the neighbor that, “I’m a Muslim and I want to paint this house.” “How much are you going to charge me?” “Nothing if you don’t have it. Nothing. My dignity asked me to go to work and right now the state department has no work for me, I can’t find work, but my dignity says I need work, my manhood says I need work, so I want to work until I can get paid for it so that my soul will feel good. “Yes, so I preached this philosophy, I preach this philosophy to our brothers who were militants members of the Nation of Islam, the F.O.I, the Fruit of Islam, I preached it to them and they were happy to join. They impressed the city so much, they got the fire department chief to come down and talk to us. They attracted them. The police chief had to come and talk to us, businesses started talking to us, they liked us, believe me, they have our history brother and that’s why Imam is sitting at the table in the sky. (Imam W. Deen Mohammed, “State of the Muslim Address” delivered at the Ninth Annual National Convention, Secaucus, New Jersey, 08/30/1997)

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