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Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil
Askia Muhammad Aquil is a faith leader, human rights activist, and community organizer with over 45 years of professional experience as a manager, director, and community organizer. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, he helped lead the movement that challenged the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, FL to diversify its faculty and to offer what became the first Black Studies program/Africana Studies Department in Florida. He also became known for organizing the Tampa/Hillsborough County community around preserving formerly all-black Middleton and Blake high schools, violence prevention, community policing, affordable housing, and other important social justice issues.
Currently, Imam Askia Muhammad Aquil serves as a Muslim faith and community leader most often called upon to lead interfaith activities, as well as to organize BIPOC communities around important social justice issues of today (self-determination and self-help, Covid-19, affordable housing, minority veteran services, economic development.) He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Collective Empowerment Group of the Tampa Bay Area, Inc. (CEGTBA) since its founding in 2015.
Imam Aquil was employed by the St. Petersburg Housing Authority for 11 years serving as Housing Manager, Director of Human Services, Deputy Executive Director and Interim Executive Director. For 11 years he served as Executive Director/CEO of St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. where he helped several hundred families stabilize family housing and begin building wealth by becoming first time homeowners.
Among Imam Aquil’s many recognitions: in 1988 the West St. Petersburg Exchange Club recognized him as the “Crime Prevention Citizen of the Year;” in 1996 he received the “Chairman’s Award” from the Board of Commissioners of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority; in 2007 he was honored by the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity as the “Omega Citizen of the Year”; in 2021 he received the Key to the City of St. Petersburg presented by past Mayor Rick Kriseman in recognition of his contributions to the community in social activism. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg (FHSP). He is a member of Interfaith Tampa Bay, the Florida Conference of Muslim Americans (FCMA), National Co-Coordinator of the Muslim American Veterans Association (MAVA) Auxiliary, and the Cong. Bill Young VAMC Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB).
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