Basir Mchawi has woven a distinguished career as an activist, educator and communicator. He has been actively engaged in the African Liberation struggle for over fifty years. As an educator, Mchawi has been a teacher, professor, headmaster, principal and central office administrator while an advocate for the establishment of independent Black schools. While working in New York City’s Public Schools, Mchawi had the opportunity to make the concerns of communities of color audible in the central bureaucracy as a special assistant to New York’s first African American Public Schools Chancellor, Dr. Richard Green. As a member of Brooklyn’s EAST organization, Mchawi was a founder of what was then called the African Street Carnival. What began as a block party to raise funds for Uhuru Sasa, New York’s largest independent Black school, has evolved into a world-class event now known as the International African Arts Festival. Understanding the importance and primacy of African cultural practices, Mchawi served as the chair of the IAAF for over a decade.
Using both print and electronic media, Mchawi attempts to bring information to the community. From the mid to late 1970’s, he was editor of Black News, contributor to numerous publications and producer and host of the WLIB radio show, A View from the EAST. Mchawi currently produces and hosts the award winning WBAI radio program, Education at the Crossroads and writes on a free-lance basis for a number of local newspapers. Basir Mchawi has appeared on a number of cable and local broadcast television shows as both guest and host/producer. He is also an elected member of the WBAI Local Station Board. Understanding the importance of travel as a means to better understand the world, Mchawi has traveled in Africa, Asia, North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Although retired, Mchawi currently teaches one day a week in the CUNY system and has more time to be engaged in “the people’s work.” To that end, Mchawi serves as a Board co-chair of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in an attempt to give back to the North Bronx community in which he resides. He is a founding member of UPAMA.