Ilasah Shabazz, daughter of African American Muslim minister and human rights leader Malcolm X, is coming to Portland Saturday, May 26 to be the keynote speaker at a fundraising brunch by the Portland NAACP.
The local civil rights organization is celebrating Malcolm X with a series of events, called the X Factor, which will also be a fundraiser for the organization. The celebration will also fall in line with the Malcolm X’s birthday.
Shabaaz has garnered a reputation for being an ambassador of peace in her own right, promoting higher education for at-risk youth, giving motivational speeches, participating in civil rights activism, fostering interfaith dialogue to build connections between cultures for young leaders of the world, and facilitating humanitarian delegations across the globe.
She is also an award winning author of several books including: Growing Up X, a coming of age memoir; Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, a children’s illustrated book; X, a Novel, a young adult historical fiction book; and her newest book, Betty Before X, a middle school historical fiction book about her mother that was co-authored by local writer Renée Watson.
Shabazz followed in her father’s footsteps in more ways than one, retracing his steps to the Holy City of Mecca to explore religious and historical sites in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Malcolm X had done the same in 1964 when he distanced himself from the racially divisive teachings of the Nation of Islam and affirmed his Islamic faith as a way to reconcile racial tensions.
The brunch is part of a weeklong celebration of NAACP Portland’s 104 years of service that includes fundraising, readings, and the announcement of a proclamation for the city to officially recognize May 19, Malcolm X’s birthday, as Malcolm X day in Portland.
“The city’s proclamation would serve as official recognition to the important work of Malcolm X and emphasize our city and its leaders [sic] commitment, to reshaping Oregon’s racist history,” an official statement from NAACP Portland read.
Readings of Malcolm X and an auction will be held on Wednesday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at Po’Shines Café at 8139 N Denver Ave. For more information and tickets for the Shabazz event , visit xfactor.ticketleap.com/xfactor.