Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Tim Razzaq, who marches to his own cadence and has the ability to attract other marchers in his quest to make change happen. His unusual education and career path seems to be relevant to the focus of this blog. An excerpt from the U.S. 1 Newspaper interview:
Despite being frustrated and bored by high school and one semester of college, Razzaq was eager to learn. In 1997, based on his publishing contacts (he had sold books door-to-door and worked for Africa World press), he began to organize book signings and conferences, eventually forming a grassroots education group, the Communiversity of Trenton. It ran from 1997 to 2002 and focused on Afro-centric history and health. “We wanted to take university knowledge into the community,” says Razzaq, “so people could have easy, affordable access to education. We created our own syllabus and our own library, pooled our money, and flew university leaders to Trenton.”
Razzaq went on to be a community organizer and to found a grass roots organization, We Are Building Open Opportunity Structures Together (We Are BOOST). Its current mission: "to facilitate personal, organizational, and social empowerment through our consortium of academic and industry leaders by offering everyday citizens innovative, yet practical ways to use green technology and sustainable design in everyday living."
The full interview about We Are BOOST is available at U.S. 1 Newspaper, and additional observations are blogged at Princeton Comment.
As the United States prepares to welcome another African American community organizer -- one with a stellar traditional education -- as its president for the next four years, it is intriguing to observe what Tim Razzaq may be able to accomplish in that time. He is starting in Trenton, New Jersey, but sets no geographical limits.