Abu Jamal Teague Appointed National Director of SHARE™ Centers
With great enthusiasm and commitment, Abu Jamal Teague accepted MANA'S recent offer to become the full-time National Director for SHARE™ Centers and the Community Re-Entry Program. Brother Abu Jamal brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the task of facilitating the establishment of SHARE™ Centers and the Community Re-Entry Program throughout the country.
Born in 1940 in Augusta, GA, Abu Jamal grew up in Newark, NJ, attending college at Rutgers and eventually obtaining a Masters of Public Administration with specialty in urban economics from Princeton University. For over 40 years Abu Jamal has been working in the field of government social services. He started in 1965 in Harlem for the first anti-poverty program, HAR-YOU Act, which was established by President Johnson's Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
Today he works for Essex County's (New Jersey) Division of Community Action, which is the successor to Johnson's original anti-poverty program. The mission of the Community Action Program is to focus resources on the goal of realizing self-sufficiency within the low income community. This goal is to be achieved through the participation of the poor in planning and embracing the role of advocacy for the poor. In Abu Jamal's view, this is exactly the mission of the SHARE™ Centers: achieving self-sufficiency in Muslims who are in need. Not giving them fish but teaching them how to fish. As the Prophet (saws) did when a man came asking for sadaqah—showing him how to make a living so he wouldn't have to ask for help. That's self-sufficiency.
Abu Jamal works as the Planning Coordinator for the Division of Community Action, where he serves 25 social service agencies. His job is to assist the various agencies in doing their work. This includes developing monitoring and evaluation systems, needs assessment, grant writing, planning and technical assistance.
Abu Jamal's commitment to the poor didn't stop with his job. In 1997 he established the Crescent Social Service Agency in the Newark area to provide a variety of social services for Muslims. Crescent can be seen as the precursor and model for SHARE Centers. Crescent provides job training, job development, substance abuse intervention, rental and utility assistance. In addition, Crescent has its own transitional house, called Almost Home, for formerly incarcerated Muslims, and a substance abuse program called al-Kaffarah. The main task of Crescent, as it will be for SHARE™ Centers, is to have case manager to work with needy people in achieving self-sufficiency. Crescent has one full-time case manager and one voluntary part-time person.
Abu Jamal is extremely exited about the SHARE concept. "My job as SHARE™ Director is to translate my skills and experience to help others establish SHARE Centers and realize the goal of achieving self-sufficiency among needy Muslims." In Abu Jamal's view, the establishment of SHARE Centers will not only serve as a vehicle for achieving MANA's goal of community activism, but will also help in achieving MANA's other goals of masjid development and dawah. Helping masjids provide social services will strengthen masjids. Providing services is also a form of dawah, as people see Muslims in action.