Ndidi Amatullah Okakpu is a community advocate, social entrepreneur and creates equity in interfaith and civic engagement spaces. She currently serves as the Convener of the Chicagoland Shura Council, a 501(c)(3) federation of Masajid (Mosques), businesses, and community organizations largely representing the Chicagoland community of the late Muslim American scholar and leader Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. She is also principal consultant of N. Okakpu Consulting which offers business solutions for the needs of small businesses, non-profits and community based organizations.
Inspired by the pioneering community activism of her late mother, Amatullah Sharif, her roots began in Muslim youth organizing in school and in the Masjid. She joined the inaugural delegation sent by Imam Mohammed, to study Qur’anic Arabic at Abu Nour University in Damascus, Syria under the auspices of the late Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro. Upon returning to The States, she was appointed National Youth Coordinator and Organizer for the Youth Da’wah training program- which trained Muslim youth for leadership roles as teachers, Imams and propagators of faith. Over an 8 year period her organizing progressed from being focused on youth, to marginalized and economically depressed communities.
Ndidi earned degrees in both Finance and Business Administration from DePaul University. Continuing her drive for community development, she worked at Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). There she focused on community organizing and nonprofit capacity building and became the Chicago lead to the IMAN- DC initiative (now called DC Project REACH). She later served as their Finance Manager overseeing the non-profit’s $2.5 million dollar budget.
Valuing the important role that inter-religious relationship building plays in community development and social progress, she has worked closely in interfaith efforts with the Catholic organization - Focolare Movement – for over 12 years. She was subsequently chosen to serve as a Muslim American delegate for their world conference “Muslims and Christians in Universal Brotherhood” in Castelgandolfo, Italy. Ms. Okakpu was also selected to present at the historic Parliament of World Religions held in Melbourne, Australia. There she presented on the legacy of Black Muslims in America and joined the Educating Religious Leaders for a Multi-Religious World project.
Ms. Okakpu has written vigorously in Muslim Journal, often reporting on community, civic, and world events. Her background has called her to serve in several areas of civic engagement. She is an alumnus of American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI), and has joined several delegations to The White House Office of Public Engagement addressing issues affecting marginalized American communities. She notably consulted as director of operations for the historic 2015 Chicago Mayoral campaign of Jesús "Chuy" Garcia. Ndidi has been featured for her organizing work by the US State Department in its documentary on the contributions of Muslims in America along with other noted Americans such as Congressman Keith Ellison. Ms. Okakpu is honored to be a Clara Muhammad School alum, and native of Washington, DC, and is a proud Chicago resident of over 17 years.