By Cheryl Smith
When I met Hashim Nzinga, he was introduced to me as Steve Washington. I was impressed by his thirst for knowledge and desire to share his gifts with others. He did his sharing through a study group at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, in Dallas. The Metropolitan African American Think Tank (Ma’at) was the place you wanted to come to if you had a desire to be enlightened. One scholar, the late Dr. Ed Sims, was also one of many who, in the 90s, especially, were on the forefront of providing an Afro-centric/centered education that we all knew was not being offered in classrooms, especially in Arlington, Tex.; where Steve’s children attended school. For years, Brother Hashim battled with cancer. He died on Sept. 9, 2020.
Until the very end, he was enlightening, educating, informing, challenging, and sometimes, scaring people as he dealt with their miseducation. Sure there were times he made you twinge. But you have to ask yourself, was it the truth, guilt, or ignorance that made you twinge? Or could it have been a realization of what it feels like to be free?
Which brings me to my truth.
Everyone is special in some way and everyone has a special place. There will be those who bring you joy. Some will challenge you. Others will hurt you. Still, others will make you wonder how you keep from going under or ask WTH. Brother Hashim made me a better person. Here’s just a few reasons (10 points) how/why he had a positive impact on me:
• He educated me without making me feel like an imbecile.
• He never crossed the line that many men cross when “befriending” a woman.
• When he called, it was just as much to give as it was to receive.
• He was always uplifting and very supportive.
• He connected “like” minds.
• He showed appreciation.
• He was honest.
• He was passionate and methodical.
• He shared/showed love and respect.
• He was fearless and loyal.
Need I continue?
At the time of his death, he was the Chief of Staff for the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). Founded in Dallas in 1990, by Aaron Michaels, the NBPP grew further under the leadership of Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad and Malik Zulu Shabazz. I knew he was in pain at times when he called me. Still, he remained positive and focused. He wanted a better world and he was working feverishly to that end. Some have asked, “How did he die?” I’m more focused on how he lived.
The Hashim Nzinga I know is someone that stood with me and I am proud to say he was a friend. I’m talking about the Hashim Nzinga, the warrior. Each of us pick our friends and we have to decide what that friendship looks like. I’ve told you why I chose to call Hashim Nzinga my friend and why no one else’s opinion matters. Marcus Garvey said, “Every man has a right to his own opinion. Every race has a right to its own action; therefore let no man persuade you against your will, let no other race influence you against your own.”