Monea Tonya McClain was the eldest child born to Zakiyyah (Christine) Talibah Muhammad and Gregory McClain, Friday, February 22, 1964 in Newark, NJ. Monea was the eldest grandchild to both her maternal and paternal grandparents. Monea grew up on the southside of Newark, NJ (Wequich) with her siblings Muhammad McClain, Fatimah McClain, and Keya Austin. As the eldest grandchild and child Monea was a pillar in her family. She was revered and respected by all her family and community members. She was a teacher, provider, protector, fighter, poet and survivor. Monea attend Barringer and Shabazz Highschool in Newark, NJ. Monea Also attended Greece Athena high school in Rochester, NY for a short time but was unable to finish due to family obligations. Monea always put family first.
Monea moved to Brockport, NY in 1990 with her nephew Naaim Austin, her son Maurice Peet and daughter Zakiyyah Peet, in an attempt to provide a better life for herself and her children. Monea raised her nephew Naaim Austin as her own child. Monea later married and had two more children Giovanni McClain and Kyle Walker. Monea worked full time while she worked towards obtaining her associates degree and later her bachelors. Monea often brought her children with her to class as she was not always able to find childcare and she wanted her children to immerse in her academic journey with her. Monea always instilled the importance of education in all her children and cousins. Monea was the first in her family to achieve their Bachelor degree. Monea was working towards her Masters degree when she was derailed due to family obligations. However, Monea’s daughter Zakiyyah was able to finish her mothers work by achieving her Masters of Science through Pratt Institute and Nazareth College.
Monea was an honorary scholar of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program from 1998-1999. Monea received her Associates degree from Monroe Community College and her Bachelors of Arts from Suny Brockport. Monea began her Master’s degree through Rochester Institute of.
Monea practiced karate and martial arts and advanced to a purple belt. Monea was a magnificent writer and poet. Ever since she was a child she enjoyed reading and stated it was a great escape from the drugs and violence she was surrounded by in Newark. Monea has been asked to read her poem “Here I stand” at many college events through Suny Brockport, Rochester Institute of Technology and Monroe Community College.
• Monea was working with the mayor of Newark, NJ Ras Baracka to complete a documentary
on the history of Newark before her passing.
• Monea worked with DJ punch to complete a documentary on the history of House music in
New Jersey. Monea and her children worked on the Aid to Mozambique fund through the
Urban League Black Scholar program, in Rochester, NY.
• Monea and her sister Keya Austin to hosted “Spotlight on Urban Voices” poetry jam,
every other Friday in Jacksonville, Fl
• Monea took in at-risk youth who were homeless or alone, on multiple occasions.
Monea leaves behind a flawless legacy for her Nephew Naaim Austin, son Maurice Peet, daughter Zakiyyah Peet, son Giovanni McClain, son Kyle walker. Four grandchildren Noah Peet, Aaliyah Walker, Avaliese Walker and Messiah Peet. She is preceded in death by her father Gregory D. McClain and mother Zakiyyah (Christine) Talibah Muhammad, Uncle Jimmy Richardson.
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