#DawudTaughtMe: Nutta

My name is Nutta, but I go by “Nu” and I’m from Southwest Philadelphia.

Dawud taught me how to build relationships on integrity and credibility.

I’ve considered Dawud a mentor for about the last four years. Since establishing a relationship with him, one of the things he has instilled in me is to cherish every positive relationship I have, and to be honorable in those dealings. Dawud always emphasized to me the obligation to serve others and to not only think about ourselves. I’ve come to know Dawud as a person of integrity, with empathy for others.

I’ve watched Dawud closely as he headed the Lifeline organization here at Coal Township correctional facility. Lifeline is an organization that helps provide educational/legal resources for long-term offenders. At one time, Dawud’s role was the president of this organization. During Lifeline meetings, he would not only present ideas that benefit lifers (most of the members are lifers) but he would also make sure to include those with lesser time to serve. He always asked to hear from members whose voices are usually not heard when making important decisions for us all. Whenever work was done, he would also share credit with others even if he was responsible for a project. I even watched him voluntarily step down as president of Lifeline to give someone else an opportunity to be in that position.

Dawud’s genuine character is what makes people trust in his leadership and friendship. I learned from him that this is the key to building strong relationships. He personally helped me build connections with some good people on the outside when he invited me to join a program he co-created called the Abolitionist Reading Circle (ARC). I implemented the principles I learned from Dawud, along with the political education he taught me, as I engaged with the members of ARC. This led to me acquiring new and important friendships that I’d otherwise never have had the opportunity to experience. That is something that Dawud has brought into my life that I will always cherish and be grateful to him for.

Nutta Verdier