By Alanah Nichole Davis
Esteemed dot connector, mother, and founder of NLife, Naimah Sharif whose name means peace or to be content, leads her village with the same calmness and compassion you’d associate with her name. CLLCTIVLY had a chance to catch up with this HBCU alum, neighborhood cornerstone, Black and woman founder for our #28DaysofBlackFutures campaign between what is a busy schedule for her fueled by a desire to rebuild the once-thriving neighborhoods she sees around her to their future glory through various community-based initiatives.
Naimah is a soft-spoken but passionate and mighty force who fondly remembers a time when as a child in Baltimore City you’d be comfortable going to any of their neighbors’ houses along her family’s street. ”You’d get fed, be safe and wait for your parents, it wasn’t a problem”. Now we’re in a reality where the children in a neighborhood may connect but the parents and elders may only see each other in passing. That theme of individualism and isolation became even more evident to her a few years ago when she was fairly new to her marriage and on the precipice of having her third child.
Naimah felt a need for additional support structures that might help her as a new wife and mother and didn’t see programming around her that helped individuals, families, or marriages who wanted support right from the communities they might live in from people that looked like them and that’s how NLife was formed. Naimah proudly answers “In a society where individualism and isolation is promoted, NLife wants to rebuild the village because people shouldn’t have to leave their neighborhoods to find support, peace or enjoyment” when asked about the importance of a village. NLife defines village life as having a connection and responsibility to your environment and the people in it Naimah says her organization creates opportunities for neighbors to meet, build stronger relationships, and establish trust with one another.
While NLife still totes life skills as an important tenet of their organization they’ve grown to include bigger neighborhood initiatives and community events focused on Community Building, Education, Food Equity, Recreation, Safety, Senior Care, Youth Engagement, and Personal and Professional Development.
Naimah envisions a Fully Funded #BlackFuture where NLife might have their own building, greenspace, and multiple buses for transportation to and from any of their various programs and a big juicy budget where they might be able to pay staff. Naimah names and boasts gleefully about her team which includes Chairman, Dr. Ammar Hanif; Treasurer, Majida Abdulillaha; and Secretary/Program Director, Queen Phe. NLife’s members at large are Siddeeqah Fichman, Rasheedah Sharif, and Olushola Aleem and their advisors are Betty Bland-Thomas, Christina Delgado, and Munir Bahar. “No one makes it on their own, we only make it with the support of the people around us”, she says.
This Black History Month Naimah wants us to remember that a #BlackFuture where trust and regular communication between neighbors exists, propelling us all to identify and satisfy the needs of our neighbors and the neighborhoods themselves is the #BlackFuture she and NLife want. Folks should know that NLife can provide fiscal sponsorship to neighborhood organizations and community leaders who have great ideas that align with their mission. They’ve already provided sponsorship for various organizers in Baltimore City to host ice cream socials, turkey giveaways, and an anti-litter campaign. Keep in touch with NLife by following them at @nlifeorg or visiting cllctivly.org/listing/n-life-inc/
All February, we’re honoring a few of the many Black leaders in our community making history every day with #28DaysofBlackFutures.
This is a crowdfunding and narrative power campaign that amplifies and mobilizes resources for Black-led organizations serving Greater Baltimore.
Throughout the month, we will highlight 28 dedicated Black leaders and organizations on the ground creating programs and initiatives that drive health, wealth, safety, and culture in #Baltimore.
Let’s CELEBRATE these changemakers and SUPPORT their work! Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of this campaign.
Head over to 28DaysofBlackfutures.org to donate today! ❤️🖤💚
Let’s show up BIG for our Black leaders and their organizations!