Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)
By Byron Muhammad
New Orleans, LA. – According to a recent release crime report, the city of New Orleans topped the list for the largest increase in homicides among America’s 50 largest cities. The increase in homicide rates along with increases in carjackings, robberies, shootings and more has many feeling like the city is not safe. In addition to this the local police department is losing officers and the agencies 911 response time is an average of hours. Despite these grim set of circumstances members of Muhammad Mosque No. 46 and community members gathered to participate in a conflict mediator recruitment effort.
“It’s troubling to hear the news reports about the incidences of gun violence that continue to take place here in the city. We who have been working to reduce such incidents believe that we must continue to warn, work and offer our assistance to help curb this violence,” stated Brother Willie Muhammad, Student Minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 46.
The group launched the conflict resolution hotline in New Orleans in 2011 under the banner of the anti-violence initiative known as the Peace Keepers which was founded by Captain Emeritus, Brother Dennis Muhammad. Since the launch of the hotline, numerous conflicts have been resolved.
“Just this week, I was able to intervene in an issue that involved two members of a high school football team. The beef started over some jokes. One individual decided to contact his brother to come around the school after practice. There was some talk about possible gunplay. We were able to inform the coaching staff, who gathered the two young men together and addressed the issue. In nearly all of our training we always stress the importance of getting involved immediately and not allowing the conflict to fester. Early involvement increases the likelihood of successfully resolving an issue,” continued Brother Willie Muhammad.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated that the model of the conflict mediation process be adopted for the 10K Fearless. Since doing so twenty-five cities have received the training and over fifteen hundred people have been trained. During the training, the participants were taught each step of the mediation process, the role of a mediator and mediation techniques.
“We hope that those who participated in the training realized the urgent need for individuals that have the heart and ability to be of service in a effective way as we strive to lead by example on ways to employ effective communication among our community members. A mediator should be an example of the type of behavior we expect from people in our community and also offer opportunities for others to learn to use their influence to prevent violence in our communities. Black people are losing their lives at an alarming rate by the hands of one another. Young people are predisposed to the violence and other dysfunctional behaviors in our communities. Conflict resolution is one of the solutions that give our people an opportunity to learn a different approach when having a disagreement and also preventing conflicts before they get out of hand,” stated Brother Calvin X, one of the leading mediators.
The group intends to raise funds that will be used to purchase billboards around the city that will promote the hotline. In addition to the billboards, additional recruitment drives will be held as well as conflict resolution trainings with other civic and religious groups in the city. As a result of the coverage of the training by a local news station, the group has already received an offer to provide conflict resolution training to some students at a local high school.
“I am going to work to help setup trainings in the church that I am a member of. This work is needed,” Minister James Breland.