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Muhammad Nassardeen was selfless in his devotion to the economic advancement of the Black community. He founded “Recycling Black Dollars” (RBD) to give meaning to his dream of Black empowerment to improve the quality of life and foster better community relations. He lived a meaningful life by learning from the past, enhancing the challenges of the present and providing a vision for the future.
RBD produced an economic awakening among Black businesses and spurred tremendous growth because Nassardeen had a vision and the ability to bring it into being. Historically the dollar barely turned over one time in the Black community. With the advent of sprawling suburban shopping centers, the flight of a burgeoning Black middle-class into the suburbs and the escape from the so-called ghetto environment to a better community, the inner city—which consisted mostly of low income Black families—suffered dearly socially and economically.
These conditions created a void that Nassardeen sought to fill with the founding of RBD. As a community-based empowerment organization, he saw the need for Black people to recycle their dollars back into their own community rather than allow outsiders to profit exclusively from Black dollars. His job presented many challenges and he went about it systematically and methodically.
Nassardeen knew that in order to keep dollars circulating in the Black community, he not only had to promote the idea, but he also had to demonstrate it by deeds and action—and he went about doing it via RBD. Mass media communications was a vital tool in his RBD economic arsenal. He had to let the community know how to do what he was telling them to do with their dollars. For what good is a “gospel” if the people are not allowed to hear it. The Black community in Los Angeles has benefited greatly because Nassardeen used his talent and resources for its betterment. In a skilful way, he was able to affect positive changes in the way the business community operated with an equal ripple effect throughout other segments of the Black community.
His passing has created a chasm that will surely be missed not only in the business community but also in other areas as well. Los Angeles City councilman, Bernard Parks issued the following statement on behalf of residents of the eighth district where Nassardeen resided with his family. Parks stated: “The passing of Recycling Black Dollars founder Muhammad Nassardeen comes as a great and unexpected blow to our community. Although his contribution to the economic development of the Black community and his entrepreneurial fortitude will be sorely missed, his spirit will continue to live and thrive through the countless opportunities he provided for those in our community. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Nassardeen.”
Assemblyman Mervyn M. Dymally, chairman of the State Legislative Black Caucus, issued the following statement: “As an ardent advocate and supporter of his goals, Muhammad and I enjoyed a shared admiration for each other. His astute advice and loyalty to economic development were just some of his engaging qualities. I join the countless recipients of Muhammad’s advocacy in expressing my deepest sympathy to his family. Muhammad shall be remembered as an extraordinary man; he made an enormous difference in all of our lives.”
The comments of Nassardeen’s work and his worth were echoed equally by members of the business community. Daniel Armstrong, author and founder of Find-A-Tree Consultants, said, “With my carpet cleaning business, the Dirt Patrol, we relied on RBD for regular customers and many a week our payroll was met because we’d go to RBD and get customers. I first met Muhammad after I organized an international conference of Black businessmen from around the world about nineteen years ago. Muhammad heard about it, embraced it and for nearly nineteen years, I have been one of his admirers and he had been a supporter of any activity that I have done. He was committed, he was dedicated and stayed on point and never wavered from his mission. And I, and anyone who worked at Dirt Patrol benefited from his dedication and his passion for supporting Black businesses.”
Ron Taylor of Infinity Protection Services said, “Mr. Muhammad Nassardeen was an asset to the community and all business alike. He will most assuredly be missed.”
Those words certainly painted a picture of the quality of Nassardeen’s life and the essence of his being. When he partnered with One United Bank to drum up support for its banking efforts in the community, Nassardeen asked for the community’s “support and assistance in an effort to make positive history for our people.” His passing has left a void not only in the community but also in his family and the Los Angeles Sentinel is asking the community to support the Muhammad Nassardeen Memorial Fund in memory of a man who was a staple in the community and spent his many years serving the community.
Checks should be made out to THE MUHAMMAD NASSARDEEN MEMORIAL FUND c/o Broadway Federal Bank, 4800 Wilshire Boulevard, P. O. Box 19848, Los Angeles, CA 90010 or can be dropped off to any Broadway Federal Bank branch location. Checks may also be dropped off at the Los Angeles Sentinel, 3800 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90008.
The public viewing of Muhammad Ali Nassardeen is scheduled as follows: Thursday, October 18, 2007 at Angelus Funeral Home, 3875 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90008 from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Los Angeles Sentinel extends condolences to his family and send them peace and blessings in time of sorrow.