Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama style change in Trenton?

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.


GSS SET Central said...

BOOST to Form Youth Task Force, Invites Citizen Leaders to Join
Rebuilding Communities from the Inside Out Theme of Saturday Forum

TRENTON, NJ – This Saturday, January 17, We Are BOOST (We Are Building Open Opportunity Structures Together) will convene a panel of diverse leaders for “Inventing the Future: Designing Our Tomorrow, Today”, the second of a series of community-building and networking forums designed to motivate and mobilize Trenton-Mercer citizenry to provide young people a broader range of options in jobs, careers, and education. “Rebuilding Communities for the Inside Out” will be held from 11am until 3pm at Planet Havana located at 439 South Broad Street in Trenton’s arena district. Admission is free to the general public and businesses and nonprofits are welcome to inquire about setting up exhibitor space by calling (206) 202-2883 or emailing Vendor registration forms can be found at the group’s web site

“With budget cuts in the City and throughout the State of New Jersey coupled with increases in homelessness, decreases in youth services, and rising tides of despair and hopelessness, this is not the time to wait on financial capital coming in from D.C. We have to identify, mobilize, and organize other assets and resources, such as human, natural, manufactured, and social capital and create and maintain new relationships between these capital centers to compliment what little money we have” Says Tim Razzaq, BOOST’s founder lead organizer of Saturday’s event. “We offer a ‘five capitals’ approach and an asset-based community development model to get good work done at an affordable cost. The current and widely adhered-to deficiencies-based model has created more problems than it can effectively solve. We have to reinvent our future to overcome the challenges of our past, then move forward together.”

The Trenton Society of Friends and YWCA’s Racial Justice Institute will award prizes five winners of their 2008 Trenton Week without Violence Youth Poetry Contest and more than a dozen speakers, including Sababu, Sa Mut Angela Scott of the firm Magical Mother Coaching and Empowerment, and Dr. Renee Walker, Coordinator for Project Inside, an prison outreach and education group based out of Mercer County Community College.

Topics include:

• Challenges and Opportunities of Urban Agriculture by Amy Iseneker
• Chromium 6 and Urban Environmental Racism by RJ Harper
• Clean Water: an Urban and Global Crisis by Lydia Chambers
• Building Strong Communities One Daughter at a Time by Yvonne Haughton
• Turning Waste into New Products through Innovation & Policy Change by Priscilla Hayes
• Urban Revitalization & Redevelopment Opportunities and Outcomes by Roland Pott

“BOOST’s Inventing the Future is a perfect umbrella under which many like-minded individuals and organizations, such as PBIC, can collaborate and pool resources and ideas to develop a shared vision for our future,.” says Amini K. Sababu, Positive Black Images CONNECT founder and convener of the recent Kwanzaa celebration in Trenton which attracted upwards of 300 people looking for personal and family inspiration.

Positive Black Images CONNECT, or PBIC, is “here to facilitate a process wherein people of African descent, or other ethnic groups with dark skin, make a positive psychological, or emotional association between people, things or events in order to foster a more optimistic, constructive, and encouraging view of themselves and the future” Sababu explained.

The brainchild of Mr. Tim Razzaq, BOOST plans, promotes, and coordinates public awareness forums and community-building activities throughout the State of New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and City of Philadelphia. It is the natural outgrowth of Razzaq’s 20 years community organizing efforts and experience. In 2008, BOOST sponsored and hosted dozens of workshops, focus sessions, panel discussions, redevelopment site tours, and youth enrichment activities.

In 2009, the group has concrete plans for mini-conferences, extended courses of instruction, and a summer sustainability program for middle school aged children, and to launch an innovative sustainable business venture, WAB (We Are BOOST) Waste-Stream Eco-Solutions. For more information, call (206) 202-2883, email or visit their web site

GSS SET Central said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Razzaq said...

Lending an ear to 'green noise'. Special to the Times. Click here - - to read article.

On Saturday, October 17, Sustainable Princeton and We Are Building Open Opportunity Structures Together will convene a symposium for the open discussion of "Filtering the Green Noise: A Symposium, Part 1". The forum will take place from 9:30am until 12:30pm at the Suzanne Patterson Center located at 45 North Stockton Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Admission will be free of charge to all members of the general public.

The purpose of the series is to help people sort through the amazing, and oftentimes, rather confusing amount of information regarding the emerging environmental economy and make informed decisions about “going green” or starting a green venture or project.

Our objective in Part 1 is to help participants begin Setting Clear Goals & Learning Practical Tools for Creating Green, Smart, & Sustainable….

Homes & Offices * Business Enterprises * Places of Worship * Parks & Open Spaces * Educational & Public Facilities * Job, Career, Education & Training Options...

The October 17 symposium will feature a highly interactive and audience-centered discussion with a panel of “discussion and thought leaders”, that will include:

Jeana Wirtenberg for the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at FDU -

Anastasia Harrison - AIA, LEED AP -Director of Sustainability for Gannett Fleming North Eastern Region (USA) and Owner of Eco Solutions New Jersey

Kyle Van Dyke for KVD Studio -

Mattew Wasserman for Sustainable Princeton - (

Tim Razzaq for We Are BOOST -

Terri Petry for Mercer County Woman -

Ira Isenstein for Strictly Business Inspections + Energy & Environment

Professor Alvyn Haywood for Personal Empowerment Communication (No web site available)

No registration is necessary, but RSVP info. is here along with our sponsors:

To RSVP, call (206) 202-2883 or email

For more details about Filtering the Green Noise and to RSVP, please visit our web site:

Sponsored by: Sustainable Princeton, We Are BOOST, Church & Dwight, Strictly Business Inspections, Eco Solutions New Jersey, and Mercer County Woman newspaper.

Tim Razzaq, CEO and Founder
We Are Building Open Opportunity Structures Together (We Are BOOST)
(206) 202-2883