Afrikanliberation — July 13, 2009 — Rafiq Bilal Bin Djiang Gan was a well-known civil rights activist who dedicated his life to fighting injustice and inequality for people of color in America.
Rafiq was a founding member of the Black Man's Liberation Army and the Black Man's Development Center, communal organizations that aimed at decreasing crime and drug abuse in Northwest Washington, DC. In 1981, Rafiq moved to San Francisco with his wife- Saisa, daughters- Aziza and Aisha, and son- Mohammed. He spent a few years managing Freedom West Homes, an affordable housing complex in San Francisco's Western Addition, before becoming a drug counselor at Glide Memorial Church and the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. Rafiq was instrumental in helping to create Glides' graduation program.
In 1992, Rafiq, with help from his good friend Israel, and funds from his mother's life insurance policy founded the Upper Room, California's first substance-free night club. From 1992-1997, the Upper Room served as a salon for many of the Bay Area's top artists, scholars, and culture creatives.
The Upper Room, under Rafiq's guidance, helped to shape and support careers of people like Goapele, Martin Luther, Housing Authority, Midnight Voices, Will Power, Hieroglyphics, Mohammed Bilal, Robert Henry Jonhson, Kimiko Joy, Asha Bandele, Keba Konte, Mind Motion, and others.
Rafiq is deeply loved and will be missed.
Peace be upon you