Muhammad recognized as Kane outstanding citizen
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News November 29, 2012 9:36PM
Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year winner Clayton Muhammad (right) speaks with Richard Ebey, the son of the namesake of the award during a ceremony at the Kane County Sheriff's office in St. Charles on Friday, November 29, 2012. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 1, 2013 6:08AM
There were 25 murders in Aurora in 2002, the year Clayton Muhammad founded the Boys II Men program to help create a positive influence in the lives of young black and Latino men.
Fast forward to 2012, the 10th anniversary for the club. As of Thursday, there has not yet been a homicide in Aurora. Law enforcement has received some of the credit, but on Thursday morning they gave some of that credit to Muhammad, who won the 2012 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year Award at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office for his work with Aurora youth.
“Clayton and Boys II Men have been major contributors to a peaceful city,” Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said.
Weisner nominated Muhammad for the award, encouraged by the positive influence in the lives of Aurora youth. Many of the men in the Boys II Men club have made positive strides in their lives, instead of getting sucked into gangs.
“It’s just so heartening to see these young men moving forward,” Weisner said.
Earlier this week, Weisner and the Aurora City Council honored Muhammad in recognition of Boys II Men’s ten year anniversary.
Muhammad currently serves as the spokesman for East Aurora District 131, after beginning his career as a teacher at Waldo Middle School. He is also a former vice president at the Quad County Urban League in Aurora.
He was honored to receive the award, he said. It was named in honor of 83 year-old Aurora resident Roscoe Ebey, who was murdered in his Aurora Township home in 2007. Ebey was a World War II veteran who was very popular in his neighborhood. The award is designed to recognize people who exemplify a spirit of selfless giving.
“To have any connection to that at all is so inspiring,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad said that law enforcement created a strong foundation for the club to be able to build on. He also credited the media for running both the negative and positive stories that have an impact on minority communities.
Muhammad said service to others has become a large part of how he lives. The situation in 2002 called for a different approach, and Boys II Men ended up being the solution.
“We wanted to do something different, working with the young men that were the demographic for those murders,” he said.
Perez, who is from Aurora, also spoke highly of Muhammad’s efforts.
“This really does our hearts good, to see a city that’s made a major transformation,” he said.